From the news desk

SA Lawyers seek arrest of Egypt’s Grand Mufti


South African lawyers are seeking the investigation, arrest and prosecution of the Egyptian Grand Mufti Shawqee Ibrahim Abdelkareem Alaam for his role in allegedly supporting the Egyptian regime and enabling its crimes in terms of international law. The docket, dubbed the Egyptian Death Penalty Docket, has been lodged by the Muslim Lawyers Association (MLA) and Mohamed Reda Elhenedawi Elorabi.

The docket calls for the implementation of various pieces of legislation, both domestic and international, which places obligations on the South African government to take action against proponents of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The Media Review Network has welcomed the news, saying South Africa should not be entertaining a cleric who supported the death sentence of deposed Egyptian president Mohammad Morsi.

“The role of Egyptian Grand Mufti Shawqee Ibrahim Abdelkareem Alaam in enabling the Sisi regime to utilise the death penalty against the democratically elected Egyptian government of Mohamed Morsi and supporters of democracy, has not been obscure or opaque,” said the MRN in a statement.

“His role as an enabler of these grotesque crimes are detailed in media and human rights reports which include but are not limited to International Coalition for Freedoms and Rights, Amnesty reports on Egypt and Human Rights Watch to name a few.”

Last year, Sisi was forced to postpone his trip to South Africa last year when the Muslim Lawyers Association filed an official legal request for his arrest for human rights violations in Egypt.

According to MRN researcher, Dr Aayesha J. Soni, the Egyptian National Council for Human Rights (NCHR), in its recent report, said violence in Egypt had resulted in about 2,600 deaths. The authorities had detained, charged, and sentenced at least 41,000 people in Egypt, often on fabricated claims and accusations.

1813 death sentences have been meted out in 3 years by a farcical judicial system and the Egyptian Coordination for Rights and Freedoms, an independent group, documented 256 deaths in custody, with 209 detainees having died due to medical negligence since al-Sisi took office in June 2014.

Human rights group have condemned the role played by the Grand Mufti in carrying out these death sentences. Dr Soni said out of 50 death orders that were presented to him for ratification, Allam approved 45, including the one against Morsi.

“Basing his ruling on trials that were deemed “grossly unfair” by Amnesty International, Allam forewent not only his religious obligations and duties, but his ethics, morals and principles too and any credibility he might have had has been wholly compromised in one single move,” she said in a recent article.

The MRN said the docket is a “reflection of conscience and responsibility” to the ideals of due process, freedom of association and international law.

“Egyptian Grand Mufti Shawqee Ibrahim Abdelkareem Alaam has sought to taint this blessed land with blood-soaked hands which have been utilised to hand down death sentences en masse for trumped up and vexatious charges,” the organisation continued.

“We call on the South African government and structures of enforcement to heed the prayers of investigation, arrest and prosecution as contained in the docket and to anchor the Republic as a voice of conscience against brutal military dictatorship, crimes against humanity and war crimes and the enablers thereof.” VOC


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