The Cairo Court of Urgent Matters declared in Monday’s session its lack of jurisdiction in the lawsuit filed to designate the 6 April Youth Movement as a terrorist organisation.
General Coordinator of the 6 April Youth Movement Amr Aly told Daily News Egypt the ruling proves the group’s consistent argument that the Court lacks jurisdiction on cases of this sort.
“We were expecting this ruling and it is something good for us. It proves that the judiciary should not become part of a game of settling disputes between the regime and its opponents,” explained Aly.
He added: “This shuts the door in front of filing more lawsuits of the same nature and the interference of the Court of Urgent Matters in such cases.”
The first session of this trial was held on 8 March, but was then adjourned to 20 April.
Ashraf Farahat, the lawyer who filed the lawsuit against the movement, told Daily News Egypt that the ruling was expected because he had filed the lawsuit prior to the issuance of the ‘terrorist entities’ law.
“All the official documents related to the case have been withdrawn, and I will file a report tomorrow to the General Prosecutor to enlist the 6 April Youth Movement as a ‘terrorist organisation’,” explained Farahat.
The Prosecution takes seven days to consider the request, before its transferral to one of the criminal circuits of the Appeals Court, according to Farahat.
“I am confident that the request will be approved,” Farahat stated.
Farahat added that the case was based on statements from the organisation’s members and officials. He added that the movement’s members said in the statements they joined protests in the Matariya neighbourhood of Cairo on the 25 January Revolution’s fourth anniversary, which “saw at least 18 citizens killed”.
President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi issued a decree on 24 February approving the “terrorist entities” law, detailing offences necessary for a group or organisation to be labelled a “terrorist entity”.
In April 2014, the Cairo Court for Urgent Matters ruled to ban the 6 April movement for “espionage” and “activities that distort Egypt’s image”. The court also ruled to shut down the headquarters of the movement.
Regarding the ban, Aly noted that the group faces a problem because the system of the Urgent Matters Court does not give the accused the right to appeal. However, the ban has not affected the activity of the group except on certain occasions.
“For instance, a planned conference commemorating the fourth anniversary of the 25 January revolution was cancelled because of the ban,” said Aly.
However, Farahat said listing the movement as a ‘terrorist organisation’ goes beyond the verdict to ban the movement, as it will give the state the power to exercise its control over the movement through its police force.
“The movement’s Facebook page would be shut down; protests would be dealt with according to the law and members would be officially accused of belonging to a terrorist organisation, just like those belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood,” explained Farahat.
The 6 April Youth Movement has been functioning for six years. It was founded in 2008 after organising the largest wave of strikes in recent history, in the industrial town of Mahalla.
The movement has been an ever-present participant in the major political changes Egypt has witnessed in the last four years. They participated in protests that helped topple both Mubarak and the Muslim Brotherhood regime in 2013.