Egyptian media is reporting that Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has pardoned a group of individuals that includes prominent overseas leaders of the Brotherhood that were convicted by a military trial in 2008. According to the Egypt Independent report:
The names of the 26 Islamist convicts that were pardoned by President Mohamed Morsy on the occasion of Ramadan were published by the official state newspaper, the Egyptian Gazette, on Tuesday. Among those listed were eight prisoners associated with the international organization of the Muslim Brotherhood and 16 leading members of the formerly illegal Islamic Jihad and Jama’a al-Islamiya groups. Also pardoned were a number of individuals who were sentenced in absentia, including Wagdy Ghoneim, who lives in Qatar; the Saudi preacher Awad al-Karni; Ibrahim Mounir, a Brotherhood leader who lives in London; Youssef Nada, the former foreign relations commissioner for the Brotherhood; Ibrahim Farouk; Mohamed al-Zayat, a Brotherhood businessman who lives in Germany; Brotherhood leader Tawfik al-Raie; the now deceased preacher Fathi Ahmed al-Kholi; and the Syrian engineer Ali Ghalib Mahmoud Hamt. Morsy reduced Shaaban Abdel Ghani Haridi’s death sentence to 15 years in jail. Jama’a al-Islamiya lawyer Ibrahim Ali said that Haridi has therefore served his time and will be released from prison in a few hours. Jama’a al-Islamiya and Islamic Jihad asked Morsy to pardon the rest of their 24 convicts currently held in Akrab prison, where they are serving sentences ranging from the death penalty to life imprisonment, on the grounds that their cases are similar with those who were pardoned. Islamist lawyer Nizar Ghorab said that among the pardoned are two or three individuals who had been found guilty of involvement in the assassination of the late President Anwar Sadat in 1981 during a military parade in Cairo. Since the toppling of former President Hosni Mubarak, several prominent Islamic figures have been released from jails, including Tarek al-Zomor and his cousin, the former head of Islamic Jihad Aboud al-Zomor, both of whom are also leading figures in the formerly illegal Jama’a al-Islamiya. In 1982 both Tarek and Aboud were convicted on charges related to Sadat’s assassination. In March 2011, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces ordered their release along with other political prisoners who had already served 15 years or more of their jail terms.
In April 2008, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood announced that five overseas defendants in the military trial of Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leaders had been sentenced in absentia to ten years in prison. These five individuals were:
1. Yusuf Nada
2. Fathi Al-Khouli
3. Tawfeek Al-Raey
4. Ibrahim Farouk Al-Zayyat
5. Ali Ghaleb Hemmat
Yusuf Nada (aka Youssef Nada) is the well known, self-described “foreign minister” for the Brotherhood while Ali Ghaleb Hemmat (aka) Ali Ghaleb Himmat) is his long-time business partner. Both Nada and Himmat were leaders for many years in the German Muslim Brotherhood although living in Italy. They came to prominence following the 911 attacks when the U.S. government accused their Islamic bank, known as the Al Taqwa Bank, of helping to finance the activities of Osama Bin Laden. Prosecution of Nada and Al Taqwa has been dropped in Switzerland recently but Nada, Himmat, and Al Taqwa remain on the U.S. and other lists of designated terrorists. As a previous post has also reported, Italian terrorism funding charges against Nada and another Brotherhood figure were dropped in July 2007 due to lack of evidence.
Ibrahim Farouk Al-Zayyat (aka Ibrahim El-Zayat) is the current leader of the German Muslim Brotherhood as well as an important figure in the European Muslim Brotherhood organization known as the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe (FIOE). At the time the original Egyptian indictments were issued, El-Zayat denied being associated with the Brotherhood and his name disappeared from the Egyptian Brotherhood online lists of indicted Brotherhood leaders. The German domestic intelligence agency has for years listed El-Zayat and his German organization as associated with the Muslim Brotherhood.
Fathi Al Khouli has been described as more than 87 years old and who left Egypt fifty years ago.
The Egyptian Brotherhood website also announced that of the 35 other Brotherhood leaders on trial, 15 were declared innocent while the remainder received sentences of 3-5 years including Khairat Al-Shater, second deputy chairman of the MB, Hassan Malek, a prominent businessman, and Dr. Mohamed Ali Bishr, member of the Brotherhood Guidance Bureau. The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood condemned the sentences as excessive and said that almost 200 supporters were arrested by Egyptian security forces to prevent them from attending the last session against 40 other Brotherhood leaders referred to the military tribunal.
For profiles of many of the individuals involved, go here.