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Egypt's top court rejects appeal by activists against inclusion on terrorism list

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A security force member stands guard while people arrive to cast their vote outside a school used as a polling station during the second round of Egypt's parliamentary elections in Cairo, November 7, 2020. (File photo by Reuters)

Egypt’s highest civilian court has upheld the designation of a group of 13 people, including two prominent activists, as terrorists.

The Court of Cassation on Wednesday rejected an appeal by the 13 people against their inclusion on a terrorist list for a period of five years.

The group includes activist and former member of parliament Zyad Elelaimy, and Ramy Shaath, the son of former Palestinian Foreign Minister Nabil Shaath.

They were placed on the terrorism list in April last year.

The 13 people have been imprisoned since 2019 in the Hope coalition case, in which authorities accused them of being funded by the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood to incite uprising and commit violence, but colleagues and activists said the detentions were aimed at thwarting the formation of a coalition ahead of the 2020 parliamentary elections.

In February, a panel of United Nations experts urged the removal of Elelaimy and Shaath from the terrorist list.

“We are deeply disturbed about counter-terrorism law ... and in particular the misuse of listing procedures at national level, to attack individuals engaged in human rights work,” they said in a statement.

In Egypt, the designation of people as terrorists involves prosecutors who ask a criminal court to add the individuals to the list.

The court then either accepts or rejects the request. A listed person can appeal.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has faced international condemnation for a crackdown on civil society groups since he took power in 2014, a year after a military coup spearheaded by him toppled the country's first-ever democratically-elected president, Mohamed Morsi.

Since Morsi’s overthrow, Egyptian authorities have been engaged in a persistent crackdown on dissent, killing hundreds and arresting thousands.

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