CAIRO – An Egyptian court on Wednesday postponed its verdict to March 4 in a case to decide whether to designate Palestinian resistance movement Hamas a “terrorist” organization due to its links with Egypt’s outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.
Cairo’s Court for Urgent Matters had initially scheduled a Tuesday session to announce a final ruling in the case. But the plaintiff asked for a postponement to introduce additional documentation.
This is the second time the court postponed its verdict, which obliges it to deliver a ruling in the next session. Under Egyptian law, the announcement of a verdict can be postponed up to three times.
Egyptian lawyer Samir Sabri initially filed the lawsuit to demand that Hamas – which since 2007 has governed the next-door Gaza Strip – be dubbed a “terrorist” group by Egypt’s army-backed government.
“Closely linked to the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas has turned from an Islamic resistance movement into a terrorist organization,” Sabri’s lawsuit reads.
Hamas, an ideological offshoot of the Brotherhood, has repeatedly denied Egyptian accusations that it was involved in attacks on Egyptian security forces since last summer’s ouster of elected president Mohamed Morsi – a Brotherhood leader – by the military.
A number of Hamas members have been included among the list of defendants in two trials that Morsi currently faces for alleged espionage and mass jailbreak.
The Palestinian resistance movement, for its part, has decried the charges, voicing concern that it was being portrayed as a “hostile entity” by the Egyptian authorities.
Last December, Egypt’s interim cabinet declared the Brotherhood a “terrorist group,” holding it responsible for a deadly bombing – later claimed by a shadowy militant group – that struck a Nile Delta security headquarters.
The Brotherhood, for its part, denied any link to the attack, which it described as a “terrorist act.” (AA)