The Supreme Administrative Court (SAC) on Saturday supported the Interior Minister’s decision to refer 11 bearded police officers to the disciplinary committee for growing their beards.
The court also ruled out the appeal filed by the officers against the decision to suspend them from work, for being out of its jurisdiction, according to the Egyptian Police Facebook page.
On 20 February, SAC issued a verdict allowing bearded police officers to return to their jobs. However, the verdict was not implemented by the Ministry of Interior.
During an interview aired on the CBC TV channel a few weeks ago, Minister of Interior Mohamed Ibrahim said he would rather go to prison than allow any bearded officer to return to work. He explained that the verdict issued by SAC in February did not tackle the issue of growing beards, adding that this is forbidden under police regulations.
Ibrahim further explained that police officers should all look the same and should not display any political or religious affiliations. “They knew the regulations before they joined the police academy, and if they violate them now, they face suspension,” said Ibrahim.
The ministry’s regulations forbid police officers from growing their beards.
Ramy Ghanem, a human rights lawyer, asserted that the February verdict should have been implemented, as well as Saturday’s verdict. He added that the case should not be considered twice by the same court.
Ghanem explained that the court may have obtained new evidence that prompted it to rule against the demands of the bearded officers, in contrast to its previous verdict. “Just like the prosecutor general’s case, we are witnessing unprecedented events that have no legal explanation. “