Rulings in Islamist cases raise questions in Cairo

There does seem to be a movement towards some accom­modation between Egyptian government and Brotherhood on both sides.

Lawyers representing members of Muslim Brotherhood

2016/11/27 Issue: 83 Page: 4

The Arab Weekly
Ahmed Jamal

CAIRO - Egypt’s Cassation Court has upheld an appeal filed by ousted Islamist president Muhammad Morsi, the deputy supreme guide of the Muslim Brotherhood, Khairat al-Shatir, and 22 others against life sentences they were given for spy­ing for the Palestinian movement Hamas. The court ordered a retrial of all defendants.

The ruling came only a week after another court overturned a death sentence against Morsi and a number of Brotherhood members on charges of breaking out of jail during the 2011 popular uprising.

Some observers questioned whether these rulings were part of a government effort to mend fenc­es with the Brotherhood.

Others downplayed the impor­tance of the court decisions, say­ing the overturning of two death sentences against Morsi was due to legal loopholes. They said this does not amount to a change in govern­ment policy towards the Brother­hood.

“The court rulings handed down against Morsi and other Brother­hood leaders were based on inves­tigations by security agencies,” said Mustafa Kamel al-Sayed, a political science professor at Cairo Univer­sity. “Nonetheless, these investiga­tions were insufficient to establish correct evidence.”

Either way, there does seem to be a movement towards some accom­modation between the Egyptian government and the Brotherhood on both sides.

On November 19th, the deputy Muslim Brotherhood leader, Ibra­him Mounir, called for reconcili­ation in Egypt, recognising, ob­servers say, that its international support was narrowing with the US presidential election victory of Donald Trump.

Some Brotherhood-backing states, such as Turkey and Qatar, they say, also realise that maintain­ing this backing will cost them on the international scene.

Adding to the evolving situation, the Egyptian government recently released a group of political prison­ers, with a second group expected to be released in the near future.

“This [changing] atmosphere will open the door for some compro­mises, which reflects the govern­ment’s desire to reach calm with its opponents,” said Tarek Fahmi, a researcher with the National Cen­tre for Middle East Studies, a Cairo think-tank.

The government, Fahmi said, has realised its unending crackdown on the Brotherhood will not be pro­ductive in the long term.

Debates on the latest court rul­ings were not confined to the rela­tion between the government and the Brotherhood. They also includ­ed Hamas, especially after Egypt’s administrative court appealed a previous ruling, labelling the Pal­estinian movement as a terrorist organisation.

Egypt has also made efforts in the last few weeks to improve con­ditions in the Gaza Strip by reopen­ing the Rafah crossing on its bor­der. Egypt also received the leaders of some Palestinian factions to dis­cuss a solution to Palestinian inter­nal problems.

Ahmed Gamal is an Egyptian writer.

As Printed
Editors' Picks

The Arab Weekly Newspaper reaches Western & Arabic audience that are influential as well as being affluent.

From Europe to the Middle East,and North America, The Arab Weekly talks to opinion formers and influential figures, providing insight and comment on national, international and regional news through the focus of Arabic countries and community.

Published by Al Arab Publishing House

Publisher and Group Executive Editor: Haitham El-Zobaidi, PhD

Editor-in-Chief: Oussama Romdhani

Managing Editor: Iman Zayat

Deputy Managing Editor and Online Editor: Mamoon Alabbasi

Senior Editor: John Hendel

Chief Copy Editor: Richard Pretorius

Copy Editor: Stephen Quillen

Analysis Section Editor: Ed Blanche

East/West Section Editor: Mark Habeeb

Gulf Section Editor: Mohammed Alkhereiji

Society and Travel Sections Editor: Samar Kadi

Syria and Lebanon Sections Editor: Simon Speakman Cordall

Contributing Editor: Rashmee Roshan Lall

Senior Correspondents: Mahmud el-Shafey (London) & Lamine Ghanmi (Tunis)

Regular Columnists

Claude Salhani

Yavuz Baydar


Saad Guerraoui (Casablanca)

Dunia El-Zobaidi (London)

Roua Khlifi (Tunis)

Thomas Seibert (Washington)

Chief Designer: Marwen Hmedi


Ibrahim Ben Bechir

Hanen Jebali

Published by Al Arab Publishing House

Contact editor

Subscription & Advertising:

Tel 020 3667 7249

Mohamed Al Mufti

Marketing & Advertising Manager

Tel (Main) +44 20 6702 3999

Direct: +44 20 8742 9262

Al Arab Publishing House

Kensington Centre

177-179 Hammersmith Road

London W6 8BS , UK

Tel: (+44) 20 7602 3999

Fax: (+44) 20 7602 8778

Follow Us
© The Arab Weekly, All rights reserved