Former Islamist president Mohamed Morsi and his aides were featured on a list of over a hundred Muslim Brotherhood figures whose assets were frozen on Monday by a committee affiliated with the Ministry of Justice, state-owned media Al-Ahram reported.
Al-Ahram published the list of nearly 139 names on Sunday, which featured prominent figures of the "terrorist"-declared Muslim Brotherhood. They included former supreme guide Mohamed Badie, former parliament speaker Saad El-Katatny, as well as Khairat El-Shater, Essam El-Erian, Mohamed Al-Beltagy, Mahmoud Ezzat, Essam El-Haddad, Safwat Hegazy, and others.
Quoting an unnamed judicial source, Al-Ahram said the list refers to persons who were put on the list of extremist entities against the backdrop of the case publicly known as the "Hamas espionage case and prison break-in", in which Morsi was sentenced to death.
Another judicial source, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed the news report to Daily News Egypt Monday.
The government committee authorised to monitor the assets of Brotherhood members was formed in October 2013 by the Ministry of Justice, following a verdict by an urgent court to ban the activities of the Brotherhood and to confiscate its capital. As such, the committee froze the assets of hundreds of the group's members, non-governmental organisations, and companies affiliated with the group.
However, administrative courts issued several rulings cancelling the committee's decision of freezing the Brotherhood's assets. In a recent example, famous footballer Mohamed Aboutrika won an appeal he filed against the freezing of his assets. The freeze was latter suspended.
An administrative court accepted the lawsuit filed by Aboutrika. The former Al-Ahly player had objected to the confiscation of properties belonging to tourism company Asshab Tours, in which he had shares, as well as the committee's announcement that all of the player's bank accounts had also been frozen.
"In the reasoning behind the verdict, the court established that Aboutrika was not facing any type of accusations that would require freezing his assets," his lawyer Mohamed Osman commented to Daily News Egypt Monday, adding that the current situation of the committee raises legal questions.
The Muslim Brotherhood was labeled a terrorist organisation in 2013, following a court decision that banned the group, thus making it accountable under Article 86 of the Egyptian penal code.
"The verdict was the cover used by the committee to impose a guardianship on the people, solely based on information by security sources from the National Security apparatus," Osman argued.
In February 2015, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi issued a decree approving a law on extremist entities, according to which the general prosecution is tasked with creating a list with the names of extremist entities and a list with the names of people in or associated with extremist entities. According to the law, one or more of the districts of the Cairo Appeals Court must consider the names of the enlisted entities or individuals within seven days of the initial request.
"The court asserted that the committee was not a judicial one, but an administrative one. Also, since the issuing of that law, the prosecutor general is entitled to request the freezing of a person's assets, which makes the current actions of the committee illegitimate," Osman added.
He also pointed out that while the court designated the Brotherhood as an extremist entity, it did not specifically name the people in it, so the committee did not have legal grounds to pursue certain figures.
The freezing of one's assets is one of the penalties stipulated by the law. The Cairo Criminal Court had issued a decision to list 215 people as "terrorists", for three years, as allowed in the law.
The concerned were none of the prominent figures of the Muslim Brotherhood, but rather alleged affiliates who became members of the low profile militant group named Helwan Brigades, accused of carrying out hostile operations against the police.
In July 2016, the Brotherhood's online media outlet Freedom and Justice said that the extremist list featured Morsi and the above-mentioned figures, among 35 others.
Amira el Feeki
© 2019 Daily News Egypt.