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Austria: court rules Muslim Brotherhood not a terrorist group

Egyptian protesters stand in the burnt headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Moqattam district of Cairo on July 1, 2013 [KHALED DESOUKI/AFP via Getty Images]
Egyptian protesters stand in the burnt headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Moqattam district of Cairo on July 1, 2013 [KHALED DESOUKI/AFP via Getty Images]

An Austrian court ruled this week that the Muslim Brotherhood is not to be regarded as a terrorist organisation in the country, Anadolu has reported. Raids carried out by Austrian police last year against Muslim activists and academics under the pretext of fighting terrorism were thus declared to be unlawful.

Graz Higher Regional Court spokesperson Elisabeth Dieber told reporters that the complaints lodged by nine people whose homes were raided by the police last year on the grounds that they provided financial support for terrorism and had relations with terrorist organisations were deemed to be justified by the court. She added that the raids, in which police used a disproportionate amount of force, were, therefore, not lawful.

The court touched on the prosecution's accusation that the people were members of the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, and the Muslim Brotherhood. However, it was judged that the Brotherhood is not considered to be a terrorist organisation in Austria.

Vienna police raided 60 addresses on 9 November 2020 and detained 30 Muslim activists and academics in what was dubbed "Operation Luxor". They were accused of "establishing a terrorist organisation, financial support for terrorism, organised crime formation and money laundering."

The police use of disproportionate force against well-known individuals who were treated as terrorists led to NGOs, journalists and writers calling for the issue to be clarified as a matter of urgency. The excessive force has left its mark on family members. At least ten children have since been treated for mental health issues. The families have also had financial problems because their bank accounts were blocked following the raids.

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