Stop confiscating “Alef” Bookstores

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) condemned the confiscation of the assets of Alef Bookstore in all its branches all over Egypt’s governorates, and the delegation of the state-owned Akhbar Al-Youm investment company to manage it; after some of the bookstore’s shareholders have been officially accused of being members of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Last Thursday, the committee established to seize and manage the funds of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), headed by Dr. Mohamed Yasser Abo El-Fetouh, ordered the confiscation of the Arab International Company for Commercial Agencies, Alef bookstore’s parent company, which is owned by Omar El-Shenety, whose assets were previously frozen by the committee in an earlier time.

The committee assigned the state-owned Akhbar al-Youm investment company to run all the bookstore’s branches in Egypt’s different provinces.

Since 21 June 2014, the Administrative Judiciary Court issued dozens of rulings annulling decisions to seize assets of citizens who are accused of allegedly belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood group. But these rulings haven’t been implemented yet, as they continued to be appealed before the court of urgent matters, which lately handed down rulings upholding the committee’s funds confiscation decisions, and in turn halt the execution of the Administrative Judiciary Court’s rulings. Afterwards, former governor of the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) Hisham Ramez, as being in charge of implementing the confiscation orders, challenged the ruling before the Supreme Constitutional Court, which hasn’t yest issued its decision.

Alef Bookstore has 35 branches in Egypt all over different governorates: Cairo, Alexandria, Assiut, North Coast, Ismailia, Suez, Mansoura, Tanta and Menoufia, in addition to another branch outside Egypt (in England).

ANHRI called on the committee tasked with seizing the managing the MB funds to reveal the charges that require seizing control of “Alef” Bookstore, which has contributed during the last period in enriching the cultural movement in Egypt. ANHRI also demanded to immediately repeal the decision that would discourage investing in knowledge and culture.