Saturday, 6 June 2015

Egypt court throws out terrorist classification of Hamas


CAIRO (AFP) -- An Egyptian appeals court on Saturday quashed a February decision by another tribunal branding Hamas a "terrorist" group, a court official said.

The decision comes as relations between Cairo and Hamas have deteriorated since the 2013 ouster of Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi by Egypt's then army chief and now President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Egyptian authorities have accused both Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood of backing militants who have carried out deadly attacks on security forces in the Sinai Peninsula that borders the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

The court offical told AFP Saturday that the earlier ruling labeling Hamas as a "terrorist" group was thrown out because the court that issued it was not "competent" to make such verdicts.

Hamas issued a brief statement in response Saturday saying that the new ruling corrects "a wrong decision."

"Hamas welcomes the Egyptian court's decision," it added.

The ruling, initially made in February, came after Egyptian lawyer Samir Sabri filed a lawsuit against Hamas, saying it was behind attacks in the Sinai Peninsula and that Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal had planned them.

Sabri petitioned the court to classify Hamas as a terrorist organisation, however in March the government appealed against the ruling.

The Islamist movement had strongly condemned the February verdict -- which came just one month after another court had also ruled Hamas's armed wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, a "terrorist group." more

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