A 2017 decision that landed retired football player Mohamed Abu Treika on the terrorist list was overturned by the Court of Cassation on Wednesday, ordering that the request issued by the public prosecutor be reviewed by another circuit court, lawyer Khaled Ali told Mada Masr.
However, the 2017 decision issued by a criminal court to place 1,538 people accused of affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood on the terrorist list and freeze their assets is only one of two court decisions that apply to the football player, who is now residing in Qatar. At the end of April 2018, a separate criminal court issued a decision to place Abu Trieka and 1,529 others on the terrorist list, after Parliament passed new legislation to revise the asset freeze and listing process, which had been beset by challenges from the State Council and appeals courts.
The April decision remains in place after Wednesday’s ruling. Although, the asset freezing process is now separate from the designation process and is yet to be enforced.
Parliament passed the Law to Regulate the Procedures for the Seizure, Enumeration, Management and Disposal of the Assets of Terrorist Organizations and Individuals on April 17, 2018.
Situated in a wider context, the April law marks the beginning of a third round in the state’s campaign to seize the assets of the Muslim Brotherhood and other organizations. Two previous attempts to do so were deterred by the State Council and appeals courts, both of which challenged the legitimacy of the committee ordering the seizures.
The new law — which is composed of 18 articles — lays out the legal procedures for the seizure of the assets of “terrorist groups” and the creation of a judicial committee, which shall have sole authority to take all measures related “to the enforcement of rulings deeming a group, organization or person an affiliate of a terrorist group.”
Requests to seize the assets of individuals listed as terrorists shall, according to the new law, be submitted by the committee to a judge pro tempore. If the request is approved by the judge, the management of the seized funds and assets becomes the responsibility of the committee.
The appeal process, however, now follows two channels. If a defendant chooses to challenge the designation process, they must submit an appeal to the Court of Cassation. Contesting the pro tempore decision, on the other hand, means an appearance before a court of urgent matters. If the court of urgent matters rules against the appeal, however, the freezing decision is not only upheld as “final,” but the terrorist committee formed by the April law can begin confiscating a defendant’s assets, if the appeal decision contains language allowing the committee to do so. The law, thereby, sets a precedent, allowing the government to confiscate assets and deposit them into the state budget, rather than merely seizing and managing them. Moreover, assets can be confiscated and deposited before their owners are convicted of charges related to terrorism.