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Egypt: People whose nationality may be revoked

Amendments to Egypt's Nationality Law have left numerous citizens fearing that they will have their passports revoked and may be left stateless.

There are now seven cases in which the Egyptian nationality can be revoked, according to the law, these include when it is obtained illegally or in a fraudulent manner or when a judicial ruling confirms that the citizen has joined a banned group, association, party, organisation, gang or any entity, whatever its nature either in Egypt or abroad.

Activists warn that this allows the coup government to revoke the citizenship of all opposition members, those who have spent time in prison on trumped up charges and those who have been sentenced in mass trials where they have been given no opportunity for defence.

The amendments are unconstitutional, critics have warned, and violate the UN Convention on the Prohibition of Statelessness, signed by Egypt in The Hague and which entered into force in 1975.

Fears are mounting that numerous known figures will be affected by the alteration in the law, including:

Bassem Youssef

The satirist currently lives in Los Angeles, US, with his family. The renowned TV host and his show's production company, QSoft Ltd, were ordered to pay 100 million Egyptian pounds ($5.67 million) in compensation to CBC network which claimed they had breached their contract in November 2013. Youssef's weekly TV show had been suspended due to pressure following his criticism of army commanders.

Egyptian satirist, Bassem Youssef

Egyptian satirist, Bassem Youssef

In October 2017, lawyer Samir Sabri submitted a report to the Attorney General calling for Youssef's citizenship to be revoked because of his harassment of the Egyptian state. The administrative court ruled in December 2016 that the lawsuit should be stopped. There are also reports that he is working to overthrow the government through his relationship with the April 6 Youth Movement, but there is no evidence to support this.

Mohamed ElBaradei

Mohamed ElBaradei [Ashraf Amra/Apaimages]

Mohamed ElBaradei [Ashraf Amra/Apaimages]

The former Egyptian vice president is now living in Vienna, Austria. Records in which he described the Egyptian people as ignorant and backward were aired by Al-Kahera Wal Nas (Cairo and the people) in March 2014. He is also heard criticising the political elite. Accordingly, lawyer Samir Sabri filed a lawsuit to withdraw nationality from ElBaradei accusing him of carrying out acts that threaten Egypt's safety and security.

In June 2017, the Administrative Court of Justice demand ElBaradei's citizenship be revoked. Earlier in the year, MP Margaret Azer demanded a quick decision be taken regarding the former leader's case and called for the Order of the Nile honour to also be revoked along with the suspension of any benefits he receives from the honour. ElBaradei was also accused of being a member of the now banned Muslim Brotherhood.

Read: Arab Women Investors Union honours Sisi for 'supporting women'

Aya Hijazi

A human rights activist with a dual American-Egyptian national, Hijazi is now living in the United States. In May 2014, Egypt sentenced Hijazi and eight others to three years in prison on charges of establishing a criminal group for the purpose of human trafficking, abducting children, forcing them to participate in political demonstrations and the sexual abuse of children. In April 2017, she was acquitted and left Egypt on a US military aircraft accompanied by an official from the White House.

Image of Aya Hijazi [Amanda Kell/Twitter]

Image of Aya Hijazi [Amanda Kell/Twitter]

At the same time, lawyer Tariq Mahmood filed a lawsuit against calling for her nationality to be revoked because she is a threat to national security as a result of her provocative writings in the American press and because she has obtained US citizenship without permission from the Egyptian government. To date, there has been no judgment or suspension in the case.

 

Ahmed Douma

Image of political activist Ahmed Douma [file photo]

Image of political activist Ahmed Douma [file photo]

Political activist and former spokesman for the Revolutionary Youth Coalition, Douma was sentenced to life imprisonment along with 268 others on charges of gathering and possessing weapons and attacking government buildings including the Council of Ministers. Belonging to a coalition whose legal nature has not been determined by legislators, Douma may be subject to denaturalisation.

Ahmed Maher

April 6 Youth Movement co-founder, Ahmed Maher

April 6 Youth Movement co-founder, Ahmed Maher

Co-founder of the April 6 Revolutionary Movement, Maher was sentenced to three years in prison in 2013 as well as three years of monitoring and fined 50,000 Egyptian pounds ($2,834) for violating laws against protesting and assaulting police forces. In January, security forces released him on probation. According to amendments to the law, Maher's membership of the April 6 Movement leaves authorities able to revoke his Egyptian nationality.

Ayman Nour

The political activist and founder of the El-Ghad Party, Dr. Ayman Nour, moved to several Arab countries after the 30 June 2013 revolution, finally settling in Turkey. In April 2017, lawyer Tariq Mahmood filed a lawsuit calling for his citizenship to be revoked on charges that he has taken positions which are hostile to the state and as a result of his decision to live in Turkey, which hosts leaders sentenced for crimes against Egypt. In September, however, the Administrative Court postponed the hearing until 5 November.

In April, Nour was sentenced to five years in prison and forced to pay 500 Egyptian pounds ($) for publishing false news. In 2014, 2015 and 2016, the Public Prosecution received more than 10 reports against Nour, accusing him of having direct relations with Turkish intelligence and participating in meetings of members and leaders of the International Organisation of the Muslim Brotherhood. The accusations ranged from fraud and spreading false news to use of the media to incite against Egypt. The reports are still being studied so far, and if the charges are proven, amendments to the Nationality Law would be applied.

Yusuf Al-Qaradawi

An Islamic theologian and chairman of the International Union of Muslim Scholars who lives in Qatar, Al-Qaradawi was named on a terrorism list in Egypt in June this year. In February 2014, lawyer Hamdi El-Fakharani filed a lawsuit to revoke Al-Qaradawi's nationality for one month because he incited against the country and incited sedition. However, in May this year, the case was suspended.

Mohammed Badie

Supreme Leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed Badie

Supreme Leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed Badie

Last May, the former leader of the Muslim Brotherhood was listed among 50 other figures on a terrorism list in Egypt. The list included Mahmoud Ghazlan, the group's official spokesman and members of the Guidance Bureau, Hussam Abu Bakr, Mustafa El-Ghunaimi and Saad El-Husseini.

Their accounts have been seized; they have been banned from travel and are accused of being members of the now banned Muslim Brotherhood.
 

Osama Mohamed Morsi

Osama Morsi, son of the ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi

Osama Morsi, son of the ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi

In December 2016, security forces arrested Osama, the son of Egypt's first democratically elected President Mohammed Morsi who was ousted in a military coup in 2013, and accused him of incitement to violence. Osama was arrested at his home in the city of Zagazig and is one of the defendants in a case to be considered by the Special Criminal Court regarding the breaking up of sit-ins at Rabaa Al-Adawiya and Al-Nahda Squares in August 2013. The trial was postponed until 7 October.

Safwan Thabet

Safwan Thabet [Image: Moheet.com] In February 2016, the government's Muslim Brotherhood Funds Committee issued a statement about the businessman, Safwan Thabet, stating that it had frozen 7.2 per cent of the shares of Juhayna Food Industries, which Safwan owns indirectly.

In August 2015, the Committee froze his direct share in Juhayna.

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