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Egypt court refuses candidacy for Muslim Brotherhood members in 2014 elections

[JURIST] Egypt's Primary Alexandria Court on Tuesday declared the nation's Supreme Election Commission is forbidden from accepting a nomination from members of the Muslim Brotherhood [BBC Profile; JURIST news archive] in the upcoming presidential election scheduled for May 26-27 and the parliamentary elections to follow. The ruling came after an anti-Brotherhood group filed a petition [National UAE report] calling for the ban. A lawyer for the anti-Brotherhood group stated: “It is illogical to receive such candidacies after the government designated the Brotherhood a terrorist organization." Egyptian voters ratified a new constitution [JURIST report] in January 2014 and Article 74 of the Constitution of the Arab Republic of Egypt 2014 [text, PDF] prohibits the formation of political parties on the basis of religion, which is contrary to the Islamist principles of the Brotherhood. The Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) [official website] is the Muslim Brotherhood's political group [Daily News Egypt report] and the FJP won the most seats in the 2011-2012 elections for the People’s Assembly, securing approximately 38% of the vote. Deposed president Mohamed Morsi [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] won the June 2012 presidential election as the then chairman of the FJP. Egypt's interim president Adly Mansour [BBC backgrounder] announced [JURIST report] in a televised speech that Egypt will hold presidential elections before conducting parliamentary elections.

Egypt's military deposed then-president Morsi in July 2013, and throughout the past year the military-backed government has organized a massive political crackdown against the group. Judicial authorities have since delivered harsh sentences to hundreds of Morsi supporters and members of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood is facing pressure outside of Egypt as well, as just last week the Brotherhood moved its headquarters [Daily Mail UK report] from London to Austria on the heels of a recently announced joint M15 and M16 inquiry into the group's activities initiated by UK Prime Minister David Cameron. In March Egyptian authorities sentenced [JURIST report] two Morsi supporters to death for murder. Also last month an Egyptian court sentenced 529 Morsi supporters to death [JURIST report] on charges of killing and attacking policemen in one of the largest mass trials held in the country in decades. Experts say the harshness of the rulings illustrates [AP report] the lengths to which Egyptian courts have been politicized and due process has been ignored during a crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood was named a terrorist group by Egypt's interim government last December which followed a September judgment that banned [JURIST reports] the Muslim Brotherhood's activities and initiated confiscation of the group's assets.

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