Egypt court rules Islamist´s mother not US citizen (AP) Associated Press) By SARAH EL DEEB CAIRO, EGYPT 04/11/12 5:44 pm ET)
AP} ASSOCIATED PRESS
AP} ASSOCIATED PRESS Articles-Index-Top
CAIRO – An Egyptian court ruled Wednesday that that the mother of a
popular ultraconservative Islamist viewed as one of the strongest
contenders for president is not a U.S. citizen, likely clearing the
way for him to run in May elections.
The decision was met with cheers of "God is great!" by thousands of
Hazem Abu Ismail´s supporters who had camped outside the court house
in Cairo for hours, waiting for the decision.
Abu Ismail is a 50-year-old lawyer-turned-preacher with a large
following of enthusiastic supporters, particularly from the country´s
ultraconservative Salafi movement.
The decision is likely to heat up an already intense presidential
campaign for the May 23-24 elections — the first freely contested
presidential race in Egypt´s history.
A law put in place after the fall of President Hosni Mubarak last
year stipulates that a candidate may not have any other citizenship
than Egyptian — and that the candidate´s spouse and parents cannot
have any other citizenship as well.
The country´s electoral commission said last week that it had
received documents confirming that Ismail´s mother was an American
citizen, effectively disqualifying him from the race. The
announcement sparked widespread protests by his supporters.
The prospects of Abu Ismail´s return threatens to divide the votes of
Islamists who have nominated a number of candidates.
Among the other contenders are Khairat el-Shater of the Muslim
Brotherhood, the country´s largest political group, who represents a
more mainstream face of the Islamist movement than does Abu Ismail.
Mubarak´s ex-spy chief Omar Suleiman also joined the race in a
surprise move on Friday, the last day of applications.
The Cairo Administrative Court ruled that the authorities must
provide Abu Ismail with a document confirming that his mother has
only Egyptian nationality.
Abu Ismail had challenged authorities to produce evidence backing
their allegations. He had argued that if his mother held any
citizenship other than Egyptian, authorities must have local records
of her dual nationality. Lawyers said the papers presented by
authorities were insufficient.
Many Egyptians who acquire another nationality fail to register with
the government here and are hence not recognized by Egypt as dual
Abu Ismail had said that the case against him was a plot by
authorities and foreign powers to disqualify him because of his
The presidential elections commission is currently vetting documents
of all applicants for the elections and is to announce a final list
before the end of the month.
Other candidates are also facing legal challenges, including the
Brotherhood´s Khairat el-Shater. Plaintiffs have challenged el-
Shater´s candidacy on grounds he had served time in prison connected
to his political activity under Mubarak. He received a pardon from
military rulers but his challengers say more time must pass before he
can run, according to the law.
Suleiman, the ex-spy chief, is facing a challenge from the Islamist-
dominated parliament. Parliamentary committees have been discussing
passing a law barring former Mubarak officials from running for
office. Suleiman´s bid for presidency has angered Islamists and
revolutionary groups who say it was an offense to the 2011 uprising
that toppled Mubarak. (© 2012 The Associated Press 04/11/12)
Return to Top
MATERIAL REPRODUCED FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY