First Egyptian verdict establishes Egyptian-Israeli proof of marriage

Special First Egyptian verdict establishes Egyptian-Israeli proof of marriage
Egypt's court of appeals favors couple in fight for recognition of marriage. (File photo)
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Updated 17 April 2020

First Egyptian verdict establishes Egyptian-Israeli proof of marriage

First Egyptian verdict establishes Egyptian-Israeli proof of marriage
  • Court ruling stated that Egypt is a country with multiple religious laws
  • If both parties to the marriage are Muslims, then Islamic law would be enforced

CAIRO: A Cairo court has issued a verdict establishing the marriage of an Egyptian man to an Israeli woman.

The identities of the couple were not released but the woman is an Arab Palestinian with Israeli citizenship.

The ruling was given by the Cairo Court of Appeals at the fifth constituency in Family Affairs. The verdict was issued in a lawsuit registered No. 17141 for the judicial year 136.

The husband filed a lawsuit in the Cairo Family Affairs Court, calling for proof of his marriage to the woman based on a number of documents that included the original marriage contract issued in August 2012 and a copy of his wife’s Arab-Israeli passport.

However, the first degree court ruling rejected the lawsuit, saying that the defendant did not report to the registration offices, an essential prerequisite to issue such a verdict.

The husband decided to appeal the first degree court ruling.

His lawyer submitted the appeal on Aug. 25, 2019, asking that the appeal be accepted with regards to the first degree ruling that rejected his lawsuit, based, the appeal said, on an error in law enforcement.

In the final court hearing, both parties were represented and the prosecution delegated opinion to the court, which decided to cancel the first degree court ruling and rule on the side of the marriage of the Egyptian national in accordance with the contract signed between them on Aug. 1, 2012.

Since this is the first court ruling of its kind, observers focused on the court ruling, which stated that Egypt is a country with multiple religious laws.

Egypt’s laws determine religious law that must be enforced in accordance with Article 26 of the Egyptian Civil Code.

If both parties to the marriage are Muslims, then Islamic law would be enforced.

As for the form of the marriage and based on the general law of comparative law, subjecting the marriage to local law was recognized without directly stipulating it.

It is well established that marriage according to Islamic law is a contract that allows both parties to enjoy rights in accordance with the specifications of Islamic law and civil law, with each having certain rights and obligations.

The court received the lawsuit’s documents, which prove the establishment of the marital relationship between both parties, with no denial by either side in accordance with the submitted contract which fulfills all the contract’s legal conditions — acceptance of a dowry and witnesses.

This is in accordance with the preponderant opinion of the Hanafi School of Islamic jurisprudence in accordance with Article 3 of Law No. 1 of the year 2000.

The law stipulates that proof of marriage must be established based on the contract of the couple.

Tarek Negeda, a lawyer at the Court of Cassation and the Supreme Constitutional Court, confirmed that marrying a foreigner in Egypt is subject to legal conditions and its registration to acknowledge the marriage within the Egyptian legal and social system.

Negeda said that here are detailed legal specifications for all cases in the registration of marriages by foreigners, whether in Egypt through a ma’zun (official authorized to perform marriage ceremonies for Muslims) if the bride and groom are Muslims, or through a priest if Christian, or outside of Egypt where a marriage registration is carried out in Egyptian consuls in the country where the marriage takes place.

Negeda added that the recent court ruling opens the door for many legal challenges in regard to whether the wife has filed a residency application request to stay in Egypt.

He added that most probably the Interior Ministry rejected her residency application request, in which case the affected party would resort to the administrative jurisdiction.

He stressed that the ruling highlights a legal dilemma that clashes with political and national sentiments, adding that there was “no way out in such case,” affirming that statutes will not establish such cases based on specific legal procedures.

Tarek Fahmy, a professor of political science and an expert on Israeli affairs, said court rulings should not be commented on.

“However,” Fahmy said, “this lawsuit in particular will send waves in still waters with regards to the issue of marriage between Egyptian men and Israeli women, thus opening cases of naturalization.”

He said that there was an increase in Egyptian men marrying Arab-Israeli women, although there were no specific figures.

Fahmy underlined that politically, resolutions of the Arab League do not grant Israeli nationality in Arab states to Arab-Israelis in particular and to Palestinians in general “so as not to leave the Palestinian territories without people, which would destabilize the Palestinian issue.”