The Istiqlal Party, affiliated with the Anti-Coup Alliance, was ordered to be dissolved on Monday by a Cairo court—a decision described as “flawed” by the party.
Former judge at the State Security Court Amr Abdel Raziq had filed a lawsuit demanding the dissolution of the party, accusing it of “terrorism”, inciting violence, and using religious rhetoric in its political discourse which endangers the country’s security and societal peace, according to state-owned newspaper Al-Ahram.
Istiqlal Party issued a statement on Monday condemning the verdict, describing it as unlawful and biased. “The Cairo Court for Urgent Matters is not qualified to issue such a verdict. The Administrative Court is the one responsible for the affairs of political parties.”
“We weren’t informed of such lawsuit and did not receive notification of the trial.”
Diaa Al Sawy, one of the party’s leading members, said that the Istiqlal Party does not take its legitimacy from the “coup’s judiciary” but from the masses in the streets.
Al Sawy added that the party has been banned under several different regimes ever since the rule of former president Anwar Al-Sadat, and including the subsequent regimes of Hosni Mubarak and the Supreme Council of Armed Forces.
Head of Istiqlal Party Magdy Hussein was arrested in July 2014 in a series of detentions of prominent Islamist leaders, as the ACA called for protests against the authorities on 3 July, marking the first anniversary of the military’s toppling of former president Mohamed Morsi.
The party has been a vital element of in the Islamist pro-Morsi Anti-Coup Alliance, acting as strong vocal opponent of the current government and President Al-Sisi.
The majority of the party members were part of the inactive Islamist Work Party, which was subject to regular crackdowns by previous regimes.
Legal adviser to the party Ashraf Osman said Tuesday that the verdict is directed against the activities of the Anti-Coup Alliance in specific.
The Islamist Building and Development Party issued a statement on Tuesday condemning the dissolution of the Istiqlal Party. “The continuation of issuing such verdicts by the state aims to monopolise political participation and decision making.”
The verdict comes as a government crackdown against Islamist entities after the ouster of former president. In August, the Muslim Brotherhood’s political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), was ordered to be dissolved.
Two Islamist parties, Al-Watan and Al-Wasat, withdrew from the Anti-Coup Alliance in August, emphasising the need to work outside the alliance’s framework to “establish an inclusive alliance”.