The Cairo Appeals Court for Urgent Matters cancelled Saturday the verdict designating Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist movement, “a terrorist organisation” due to the court’s lack of jurisdiction.
Hamas, which is in power in the Gaza Strip, welcomed the court’s decision in its favour, a spokesman for the group, Samy Abu Zahri said, noting that “it was a correction to a previous mistake”.
The court designated Hamas a “terrorist organisation” on 28 February, but the State Lawsuit Authority appealed the court’s decision, calling for its abolition as it violates the law relating to the designation of “terrorist entities”.
Abu Zahri added that “the decision will have positive repercussions on the relationship between Egypt and Hamas”.
Egypt designated the military wing of Hamas, the Al-Qassam Brigades, as “terrorists” in January.
Two different lawsuits were filed against Hamas, one of which was dropped by the Plaintiff in late March. The lawsuits accused Hamas of being responsible for a number of killings of Egyptian security forces personnel. It also accused them of storming Egyptian prisons during the 25 January Revolution, and helping Muslim Brotherhood leaders, including former president Mohamed Morsi, to escape.
Morsi was handed a death sentence for the Prison Break trial. The prosecution’s investigations revealed that Hamas members infiltrated and stormed the Wadi Al-Natrun, Abu Zaabal and Al-Marg prisons, freeing about 20,000 prisoners. Investigations also showed the group vandalised and stole police equipment, cars, and firearms, and kidnapped four policemen and killed others.
Relations with Hamas have been on edge since Morsi’s ouster in July 2013. Egyptian media accused the group of its involvement in rising militancy in Egypt, particularly in Sinai where the insurgency is at its peak.
Hamas has always denied such accusations, and stressed that the group does not interfere in Egyptian affairs.