Riyadh, Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat- In what represents a judicial precedent, the Egyptian Public Prosecution has charged a Saudi preacher who is allegedly a member of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood organization with money laundering and raising funds abroad, along with 4 other Egyptians.
According to the details revealed by the Egyptian Public Prosecution, 4 Egyptians and 1 Saudi Arabian have been charged. The Public Prosecution did not reveal information about the Saudi citizen, who is Saudi Arabian preacher Awad Mohamed al-Qarni who the Egyptians previously accused of being a member of the outlawed organization a few months ago before dropping the charges. Saudi preacher Awad Mohamed al-Qarni is not to be confused with his namesake the more famous Saudi preacher Dr. Aaidh al-Qarni.
Egyptian Prosecutor General Abdel-Meguid Mahmoud yesterday issued the order to charge the 5 alleged members of the Muslim Brotherhood International organization with money laundering and raising funds abroad for an outlawed group, and for their case to be transferred to the Egyptian State Security Emergency Court.
The defendants are listed as; Assistant Secretary-General of the Egyptian Medical Syndicate Dr. Ashraf Abdel-Ghafer, as well as Islamic preacher Sheikh Abdul Hamid Ghoneim, Saudi Arabian preacher Awad Mohamed al-Qarni, Ibrahim Munir Mustafa, and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Sabah Bureau De Change Dr. Osama Mohamed Suleiman. The latter four have been charged in absentia and are listed as fugitives.
This is the first time in Egyptian legal history that a Saudi preacher has been charged with financing the Muslim Brotherhood which is outlawed throughout Egypt.
Saudi preacher Awad al-Qarni told Asharq Al-Awsat that the charges made against him by the Egyptian Public Prosecution are “fabricated.” He added “I emphatically and unequivocally stress that these accusations are completely unfounded, and I challenge the Egyptian security services to provide a single piece of evidence on the veracity of what they claim.”
He said that the charges made against him are like the accusations previously made against him by the Egyptians a few months ago and which were dropped after just one week.
As for whether he intends to engage Egyptian lawyers to defend him at the Egyptian State Security Emergency Court, or whether he will use a lawyer provided by the Muslim Brotherhood, Saudi preacher Awad al-Qarni told Asharq Al-Awsat “firstly, with all respect to the Muslim Brotherhood movement and to all Islamist currents and trends in our region, I am not in anyway involved with their problems with the Egyptian government.”
Asked whether this means he was denying affiliated to the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qarni said “I announced this [denial] during the previous charge that was issued by the Egyptian regime [against me], and I challenge the Egyptian regime to prove that I have any connection with the Muslim Brotherhood.”
However al-Qarni added “This is not contempt or distain towards the Muslim Brotherhood or any other children of the virtuous ummah, but we in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have a specialty which is built upon applying Islamic Shariaa law on all aspects of life, therefore – unlike other Arab countries – we are not in need of an organized mechanism to return Islam to the lives of the ummah.”
The trial of the accused by the Egyptian State Security Emergency Court is set to take place within the next few days, and under Egyptian Emergency law the results of this trial cannot be appealed.
The Egyptian Public Prosecution revealed that they accused 4 of the 5 suspects of providing financing of £4 million to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood organization to finance its illegal activities in Egypt. The Public Prosecution also accused 2 of the 5 suspects of money laundering a sum of 2.8 million euros. The Public Prosecution alleges that Defendant No 4 sent several money transfers to the account of Defendant No 5, and that this money was later transferred into US dollars.
The details of the case date back to July 2009 when the Egyptian Intelligence Service discovered that an individual they were investigating for money laundering – Defendant No 5 – was in fact a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, and that he was laundering money for the outlawed group. The Public Prosecution claim that Defendant No 5 was receiving money from abroad, which he was laundering for the Muslim Brotherhood organization through various foreign investment projects in Egypt.
The Public Prosecution documents also reveal that on 4 June 2009, the Egyptian Security Services received notification from the unit dealing with money laundering that various suspicious money transfers amounting to 2.7 million euros had been made into a Lebanese bank account belonging to Defendant No 5.