Shorouk El Hariry
Last updated: 4 January, 2013

Appeal against Morsi’s appointment of hardline Islamist who spent years in prison

On December 23, an appeal was lodged to the Egyptian administrative court by Dr Samir Sabry, an attorney at the Court of Cassation, to cancel the decree of President Muhammad Morsi, dated earlier that month, to appoint Safwat Ahmed Abdel Ghani as member of the Egyptian Shura Council, the upper body of the Egyptian parliament.

Safwat Ahmed Abdel Ghani is the head of the political bureau of the Construction and Development Party, “Al Binaa’ wal Tanmiyah”, and a leader in the radical Islamist group “Al Jama’ah Al Islamiyah”.

Abdel Ghani was born in March 1963 in Minya Governorate. He joined the Islamist group while he was still in secondary school, and he was accused of and detained for the assassination of former President Muhammad Anwar El Sadat when he was only 18 years old, although he was released without being sentenced a few years later.

Abdel Ghani was also found innocent of assassinating Refaat Al Mahgoub, former President of the People’s Assembly. The accused were all members of “Al Jama’ah Al Islamiyah” and also included Hany Youssef El Shazly and Ibrahim Ismael Allam.

Although cleared from the murder charge, Abdel Ghani was sentenced for five years for illegal possession of weapons and forgery. As found in the Eugene Register-Guard in the April 21, 1991, he had also attempted a successful escape from prison while being transferred in a police truck. However, he was imprisoned from November 9, 1994 until his release on May 11, 2004.

According to Egyptian law (article no. 2, law 73 of 1956), such convictions should prevent Abdel Ghani from exercising any political rights.