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Cairo Court voids 1954 ban on Muslim Brotherhood

Egypt's Criminal Court in Cairo issued a decision on Monday voiding a ban [Muslim Brotherhood report] on the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) [party website, in Arabic; JURIST news archive] that has been in place since 1954. In considering a case alleging that MB leader Osama Suleiman joined a group founded in contravention of the law, the court ruled that at the time of its founding MB acted in accordance with existing non-governmental organization (NGO) laws. However, subsequent to the 1952 revolution [Egypt News backgrounder], MB came to be viewed as a political party and a new law that disbanded political parties was wrongfully applied [Daily News Egypt report] to the group. The Cairo court reasoned that the Revolutionary Command Council's application of the political party law on MB turned the organization into a political party against the wishes of MB's membership. The court therefore ruled that the MB ban of 1954 was null and void, and the organization cannot be characterized as having been illegally established. On Sunday MB announced that it will seek registration as an official NGO [Muslim Brotherhood report].

The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in 1928 and was officially banned by the Egyptian government first in 1948 and again in 1954. In June 2011 an Egyptian elections commission approved the formation [JURIST report] of the MB's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP). Incumbent president of Egypt Mohamed Morsi [State Information Service profile, in Arabic], who was just sworn-in last week [JURIST report], was the FJP presidential candidate and has been a longtime member of MB, although he resigned from FJP [NYT report] at the end of June after winning the presidential election.

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