CAIRO: The defense team of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) leaders who received jail sentences in a military court filed an appeal Monday before the Higher Court for Military Contests, they said in a press release.
Last April a military court sentenced Second Deputy head of the Muslim Brotherhood Khairat Al Shater and businessman Hassan Malik to seven years in prison on charges of belonging to a banned organization and financing it. It also handed down prison terms in absentia to five of the group s leaders who currently live abroad, including Youssef Nada, who owns Al Taqwa Bank and is a resident of Switzerland.
The appeal comes almost one month after the ruling was confirmed on July 13. Lawyers can appeal rulings within 60 days of their confirmation.
The panel emphasized that the ruling against MB leaders were politically-motivated and had no legal criminal base.
The general secretary of the group Mahmoud Ezzat told Daily News Egypt: We all know that military courts are not independent; their judges follow the wishes of the minister of the executive authority, and their verdicts are inequitable.
The defense panel said in a statement Monday that they discovered a great number of violations documents of the case, and after a long discussion they decided to appeal these rulings because they cannot abandon those who are treated unjustly.
The verdicts violate Egyptian laws and the constitution. Politics overruled justice, laws and judicial rulings; however we are confident that this tyranny will never last under fair civilian judges, said the defense panel in the statement.
MB lawyer Abdel Moneim Abdel Maqsoud said that he is preparing an appeal memo to be submitted before the end of this month.
Ezzat added the civilian court had already ruled in their favor. They should have been discharged and not transferred to military court.
We are still fighting in the military court with the same evidence we used in the first trial, said Ezzat.
Diaa Rashwan, an expert on Islamic movements, said that he expects the sentences against the MB leaders to be mitigated.
Rashwan added that the state wants the MB to appeal in order to give the impression that military justice is no longer exceptional. The State will use this case to prove its good intentions, he explained.