The Cairo Criminal Court has added Islamist group al-Gamaa al-Islamiya as well as 164 of its leaders and members to a list of terrorist entities, in a decision that could expedite the dissolution of “Building and Development” party, the group’s political arm.
Gamaa is the most prominent ally of the Muslim Brotherhood, which authorities classify as "terrorist" since the overthrow of former president Mohamed Morsi.
The court ruling also includes putting Tarek al-Zumar, Mohammed Shawki al-Islambouli, both fugitives in Turkey, Assem Abdelmajid, who is in Qatar, and others on the terrorist list for five years.
The Official gazette “Waqae Masriyya” reported in its Sunday issue that that the decision was announced by the Criminal Court, based on the investigations and reports of State Security Prosecutor's Office. It identified al-Gamaa al-Islamiya as a “terrorist entity” established contrary to the provisions of the law with the goal of forcibly changing the regime.
The newspaper also indicated that the group advocates disruption of the provisions of the Constitution and laws, the paralysis of state institutions and public authorities, and violates personal and public freedoms of citizens.
Article 237-1 of the Constitution stipulates that the state is obliged to counter terrorism in all its forms and its sources of funding as a threat to the homeland and citizens, while guaranteeing rights and freedoms.
The court based its decision on the findings of the Supreme State Security Prosecutor's Office in September, as well as that of the national security sector.
Investigations revealed that following the events of January 25, 2011, many leaders and members of Gamaa abandoned their previous initiative to end violence, and declared their adherence to the organization’s ideology calling for the atonement of the ruler for not applying the Sharia law, and establishing an Islamic state.
The gazette noted that some members of the group are linked to al-Qaeda while some of their top members joined the so-called National Coalition to Support Legitimacy of Muslim Brotherhood in Turkey, most notably Assem Abdelmajid, Tarek al-Zumar, Mohammed al-Islambouli, Assem Diab and Khaled al-Sharif.
The Coalition was established in 2013 after Morsi was ousted.
The court said that the defendants held organizational meetings and agreed to revive al-Gamaa al-Islamiya by providing financial support to members to purchase weapons and ammunition.
They also aim to use social media to spread false and fake news wanting to create strife and rift between the people and the government.
According to the Law on organizing terrorist entities and terrorists, the court’s decision will include other measures against the defendants, such as freezing their assets, listing them on a travel ban, revoking passports and preventing the issuance of new passports.
In a few months, the Political Affairs Department of the Supreme Administrative Court will appeal the parliamentary Party Affairs Committee's request to dissolve the “Building and Development” party and liquidate its funds on charges of financing and supporting terrorism and extremism.
The Party usually emphasizes its adherence to "peaceful opposition and comprehensive community reconciliation."
Political parties affiliated with religious groups, including al-Gamaa al-Islamiya, were founded after the January 25 revolution.