Egypt's National Council for Human Rights held a round-table discussion on 6 June 2008 to examine various pressing human rights violations in Egypt. Among which was the case of the Baha'is and the lack of progress in issuing identity documents. Several prominent activists and government representatives participated in this session.
One of the participants, General Ali Abdel-Mawla, first assistant to the Minister of Interior, stated that "the Ministry wants to implement the ruling of the administrative court [granting the Baha'is the right to obtain ID cards], but the challenge filed by the Islamists prevents [the Ministry] from doing so." He further affirmed that "in case these challenges were turned down [by the court], the Ministry will expeditiously implement the administrative court ruling."
N.B. These statements were made a day before the most recent court hearing that addressed the procedural challenge by the Islamists. The Ministry of Interior's lawyers asked for a postponement in order to prepare their memorandum supporting the Baha'is. The court postponed the case until 1 November 2008.
So, it is clear, according to these statements, that the Ministry of Interior has no hesitation in applying the court ruling in favor of the Baha'is. It should be also understood that the fact a challenge was filed by a third party--who was not even a party to the lawsuit--should not prevent the Ministry from implementing the ruling. A further delay (until 1 November 2008) can only lead to further extreme hardships for the Baha'is of Egypt.
Another important point is that this challenge was not an "appeal" of the ruling itself, but rather a challenge to the judge's competency--a strategy that has been frequently used by this particular Islamist extremist lawyer (Hamed Saddiq) to obstruct many other--irrelevant--cases.
My questions to General Ali Abdel-Mawla are: if the court upholds the Islamists' challenge on the first of November, what would the Ministry do then? Would it ask for another postponement? Would it sue the Islamist challenger? Would it not implement the ruling? Would it implement the ruling?
The real issue here is: what are the true motives of the Ministry of Interior? Supposing that the motives are sincere and intended to solve this crisis, then the Ministry should do so without any further delays.
Allowing such illegitimate procedural challenges--whose malicious intentions are very clear--to interfere with the due process of the law can only lead to anarchy. The Ministry knows what is needed to be done; using these frivolous challenges as an excuse to explain such unrealistic delays cannot be justified.