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Court dissolves Freedom and Justice Party

The State Council Administrative Court accepted a request by the Political Parties Affairs Committee for the dissolution of the Freedom and Justice Party, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, the state-owned Al-Ahram portal reported on Saturday. 

The court ordered both the dissolution of the party and the transfer of all of its assets to the state. 

The request by the committee was reportedly submitted based on reports by the State Security Prosecution, which proved that the party violated the 1977 law which governs parties. 

The ruling follows a recommendation by the State Commissioners Authority to dissolve the party. In the commissioners’ report, the party and its leaders were accused of inciting violence. The report also identified violations by the party such as having Muslim Brotherhood leaders comprise 80 percent of its founding members , which establishes a major influence of the banned Brotherhood on the party. The report also said non-Muslim members of the party were admitted as a procedure on paper, in order to go around the restriction that bands the formation of parties on a religious basis. The party was also accused of being a member of an international organization and of being affiliated to terrorist organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood and the Palestinian Hamas. 

The party portal said that the decision to dissolve it is a continuation of the counter revolution’s quest to rid the January 25 uprising of all its gains. The portal added that the court decision is a clear manifestation of judicial decisions being influenced by the executive branch of government. The party’s statement also said that the dissolution of the Freedom and Justice Party reveals the current regime’s aim to limit the margin of the opposition to a number of farcical parties.

Mohamed Aboul Enein, a Freedom and Justice Party lawyer, said he plans to challenge the ruling before the Administrative Court. He added that the verdict was hastily made, as it was pronounced less than a month after the Political Parties Affairs Committee presented the request to the court, leaving no time for further investigations and witness accounts.

Al-Ahram quoted Ahmad al-Khateeb, a judge with the Cairo Appeals Court, as saying that the ruling is a final one and entails the transfer of the party’s possessions and assets to the state. Yet, the ruling, he argued, doesn’t prevent party members from taking part in the elections as independents or under newly formed parties. Khateeb added that the ruling is not an act of political isolation or prevention of party members from practicing their political rights. 

The formerly ruling National Democratic Party was similarly banned by the State Council Administrative Court in 2011, in the aftermath of the January 25 revolution. The court reasoning included the party’s role in corrupting political and economic life in Egypt and the implication of its members in corruption cases.

The dissolution of the party is legally in accordance with Article 17 of the 1977 law governing political parties, which was amended by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces in March 2011 shortly after they took over after the revolution. According to the article, the head of the Political Parties Affairs Committee has the right to dissolve a party if he receives information of legal violations from the prosecutor.

The Freedom and Justice Party was established in May 2011, shortly after the revolution erupted, as leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood and former Parliamentary Speaker Saad al-Katatny notified the Political Parties Affairs Committee of its foundation. The party quickly expanded by opening offices across the nation. 

The dissolution of the party, alongside the banning of the Muslim Brotherhood last September, are considered limitations on the institutional infrastructure of the country’s largest organized opposition group, which was ousted from power last July. 

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