A Cairo court ordered the custodianship of the Pharmacists Syndicate board, dominated by the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood, on Saturday.
The verdict supported the request of a syndicate member, who raised the case and demanded the formation of a committee of nine to run the affairs of the syndicate until a new board is elected. The court suggested the board is formed of former syndicate members and businessmen.
The justification given for the case is “the domination of the Muslim Brotherhood in the syndicate,” according to privately owned Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper.
Mohamed Hegazy, legal advisor at the Land Center for Human Rights, which focuses on labor, says that the verdict is unconstitutional and marks a return to the police state, in which the regime finds ways to control the syndicates.
The Constitution passed in January of this year states in Article 77 that, “No guardianship shall be imposed on them [the syndicates] and no intervention from administrative authorities in their affairs is permitted.”
According to Hegazy, referring the case to the emergency court is the continuation of an abuse of state power and a crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood by seeking to close off all avenues by which the banned group was influential in public life.
The affairs of the syndicates should be addressed in administrative courts by law.
“The goal of all these verdicts is to create a blockade on the Muslim Brotherhood. The verdict constitutes an infringement on syndicate freedoms and a return of the police state. How can you impose a state-associated representative on elected syndicate boards?” Hegazy asks.
A Cairo court also issued a verdict last September banning the Muslim Brotherhood group.
Hegazy says that similar verdicts imposed guardianship on the Lawyers and Engineers Syndicates under former President Hosni Mubarak.
Former Shura Council member Mohamed Mohie Eddin denounced the unconstitutionality of the verdict, saying that it seems no one is consulting the new Constitution.
“I am stuck by the attempts and insistence of some people to return to the illegal and unconstitutional practices that led to the January revolution, including imposing guardianship on elected syndicates as if there was no revolution and no martyrs,” he said.
Hegazy added: “The regime is using the syndicates, as was the case under Mubarak, as consolation prizes for the opposition, coordinating with them and shutting out those they want to eliminate from the political scene.”