Court dissolves Istiqlal party over affiliation with MB
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CAIRO: Cairo Court for Urgent Matters ordered Monday to dissolve the Istqlal Party, reportedly affiliated with the National Alliance Supporting Legitimacy (NASL), on charges of forming a political party founded on religious grounds, in violation to the constitution.

The court also ordered the ban of all the party’s activities across the country.

The verdict came after former State Security Court judge Amr Abdel Raziq filed a lawsuit demanding the dissolution of the party accusing it of inciting violence, and using religious rhetoric in its political discourse which, according to the lawsuit, endangered Egypt’s national security, Youm7 reported Monday.

The party is reportedly affiliated with the illegal Muslim Brotherhood organization, previously banned by court order, and was part of the National Alliance Supporting legitimacy (NASL) which is facing trial in similar circumstances. The lawsuit was filed by former president of the State Security Court, Judge Amr Abdel Razek, Youm7 reported Monday.

There has been some controversy on the eligibility of the Cairo Court for Urgent Matters in looking into the legitimacy and activities of political parties and groups.

In a statement released Tuesday on the official website the Istqlal Party, Ahmed el-Khouly, leading member at the party condemned the verdict and described it as unlawful and biased.

“The Cairo Court for Urgent Matters is not eligible to issue such a verdict. The Higher Administrative Court is the one responsible for the affairs of political parties,” said Khouly.

The urgent matters court usually looks into such cases particularly if the lawsuit pushes for an urgent action to be undertaken, which, in the case of the Istqlal Party, was based on claims that the party opposes and incites against the current regime.

The same court had banned activities of April 6 Youth and the Muslim Brotherhood organization earlier this year.

On Sep. 22, the Cairo court of urgent matters said it does not have the authority to rule on a lawsuit demanding the banning of the activities of the NASL and returned the case back to the administrative court because the plaintiffs had demanded its banning without providing the necessary documents about the NASL’s activities.

However, the party said that they “were taken by surprise.” Deputy Secretary-General and official spokesperson of the party Dia’a Sawy told The Cairo Post Monday that the party was not informed of the lawsuit and did not receive notification of the trial.

The party refused to recognize the legitimacy of the court verdict and also refused to recognize the current regime which, according to the statement, took over after a “military coup.”

“The public should determine whether our party is valid or not,” Sawy added, accusing the court of being “politicized,” and adding that the party has had a long history of prohibition under the different regimes.

The Istqlal Party is chaired by journalist Magdy Ahmed Hussein, who was imprisoned on several occasions in different political situation, the latest being in January 2011, for being accused of sneaking into Egypt through borders with Gaza.

The party’s Secretary-General Magdy Korkor has also been arrested July 2, on charges of affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood organization and being a leading member in the NASL.

In his statement on Al-Araby Al-Gadid website on Sept. 29, Ashraf Omran, the party’s legal adviser, said there will be an appeal to the verdict.

Seeking a political solution after the crackdown on Islamists’ political activities, several parties such as al-Wasat Party had withdrawn from the NASL hoping to be reintegrated in the political scene.

Additional reporting by Mohamed Sharkawy.

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