By Heba Hesham
CAIRO: The verdict handed down by Administrative Court Wednesday doesn’t confirm whether the mother of presidential candidate Hazem Salah Abu Ismail had dual citizenship, according to Councilor Gamal El-Farash, vice head of the State Litigation Authority.
The Administrative Court of the State Council ordered Wednesday the Ministry of Interior to provide evidence of whether Abu Ismail’s deceased mother has dual Egyptian-US citizenship.
According to the court, files submitted by the Ministry of Interior did not contain internal records proving that Abu Ismail’s mother held a nationality other than the Egyptian one.
However, it added, the ministry relied on reports that she used an American passport to enter Egypt in 2008-2009.
The ultraconservative Islamist hopeful had filed a lawsuit to oblige the interior ministry to provide documents proving his mother does not hold the US citizenship, something that if proven could eliminate him from the presidential race.
Abu Ismail has challenged authorities to produce evidence that his mother was registered in Egypt as a US citizen and said claims about her American citizenship were a plot by authorities and foreign powers to disqualify him.
He argued that if his mother held any citizenship other than Egyptian, authorities must prove her dual nationality through local records. However, many Egyptians who acquire a second nationality fail to register with the government here and therefore are not recognized by Egypt as dual nationals.
El-Farash said in a phone-in to “Cairo Today” talk show on Wednesday night that the verdict only obliges the Ministry of Interior to grant Abu Ismail a certificate of his mother’s nationality as documented in its database.
“This certificate is to be considered by the Presidential Electoral Committee (PEC), which may later take a decision that is against the ruling,” he added.
The law stipulates that presidential candidates provide documents to prove that they are born to Egyptian parents, do not hold another nationality and are not married to a non-Egyptian.
The PEC will announce the final list of presidential candidates on April 26.
According to Abu Ismail’s campaign’s official online portal, the case was brought against the Ministries of Interior and Foreign Affairs as well as the PEC, which means that the ruling entails all the involved entities, and obliges the government to issue a certificate explicitly certifying that Abu Ismail’s mother never held another nationality.
“The ruling is binding to the PEC, interior and foreign affairs ministries and there is no way to manipulate it,” it added.
Presidential candidate and prominent lawyer Khaled Aly told Daily News Egypt that the verdict cannot be reduced to these statements. Aly along with lawyers also affiliated to other candidates, joined Abu Ismail’s defense team in solidarity.
“In this case, we were, based on the Egyptian Nationality Law, demanding a certificate from the interior ministry to prove her nationality,” he said.
Article 10 of said law stipulates that if an Egyptian citizen holds another nationality without informing the proper authorities, the state has a right not to acknowledge this nationality and may even revoke the Egyptian citizenship.
Aly told DNE that Wednesday’s verdict only concerns the Ministry of Interior, which can release three main documents as evidence of her dual citizenship; otherwise, “she remains Egyptian.”
These documents are: a permission request sent by his mother to the Ministry of Interior to be granted another citizenship, the permission granted to her by the ministry, and a certificate from the Egyptian Nationality and Immigration Authority stating that she is a dual citizen.
A security official in the interior ministry said the ministry is committed to implementing the court ruling, adding that it is not a party in the case but a legal entity entrusted with the implementation of the provisions, MENA reported.
Aly said the foreign ministry has nothing to do with the case and was included without justification.
The PEC had said it was informed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, that the ministry’s American counterpart confirmed that Abu Ismail’s mother held the US citizenship.
In response to El-Farash’s statement that the PEC still has the right to decide against the ruling, Aly said the committee does not have the right to exclude the candidate based on this issue, unless the Ministry of Interior says his mother is a dual citizen.
“The PEC’s members said on TV before that they have papers proving she acquired a permission to hold the American citizenship. However, it didn’t submit them in court.
“It also cannot appeal the ruling because it is not a litigant in the case,” he said.