Egypt court annuls blacklisting Hamas as terror group

Cairo, June 6 (IANS) The Cairo Appeal Court for Urgent Matters on Saturday canceled a previous verdict labeling Palestinian Hamas group as a terror organisation.

The court accepted an appeal filed by the State Litigation Authority, which represents the Egyptian government, against the verdict that a lower court had issued on February 28, designating Islamic movement as a terrorist organisation.

The court said the lower court lacked jurisdiction to issue such a verdict in the first place, according to the report.

On February 28, the Cairo Court for Urgent Matters made the ruling after an Egyptian lawyer filed a lawsuit in last November calling for banning Hamas and classifying it as a terror organisation.

The lawsuit argued that Hamas, an offshoot of Egypt’s blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood group, used illegal underground tunnels connecting Egyptian Rafah to its twin Palestinian town to enter the country and smuggle weapons to attack Egyptian police and army personnel.

The lawsuit added that Hamas militants are also accused of carrying out terrorist attacks and killing over 30 people in late October 2014 as well as carrying out an armed jailbreak to free Brotherhood members during Egypt’s popular uprising in 2011.

On January 31, the same court listed al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, as a terrorist organisation. The court ruling came days after a series of bloody attacks occurred in Egypt’s restive Sinai Peninsula that killed at least 33 soldiers and policemen.

In March 2014, the same court ordered to ban all activities and offices of Hamas in Egypt, considering the Palestinian movement an offshoot of the Brotherhood.

Since the ouster of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi in July 2013, Egyptian authorities have been cracking down on Islamist militant groups based in the Sinai Peninsula, of which some are accused of having links with the Hamas movement.

As a close ally to Morsi and his group, Hamas was not in good terms with the current Egyptian military-oriented leadership.

Meanwhile, the Hamas group has welcomed the overturning of a verdict, saying in a statement that the ruling was “a correction of a previous mistake”.

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