Egypt Prosecutor May Face Summons

  • From: "Muslim News" <editor_@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <submit@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 6 Nov 2002 11:35:21 -0000

CAIRO, Egypt -- The judge trying 26 suspected Muslim militants has
threatened to summon the country's chief prosecutor to explain apparent
weakness in the case, a defense lawyer said Friday. 

Judge Ahmed el-Ashmawi on Thursday scolded prosecutors for being
inefficient and adjourned the hearing until Dec. 21, defense lawyer
Montasser el-Zayat said. 

El-Zayat told The Associated Press that some of the evidence against the
defendants, accused of trying to revive the outlawed Islamic group
Hizb-ut-Tahrir, or Islamic Liberation Army, did not concern them but
belonged to suspects who were cleared of charges in August. 

The judge was annoyed and hinted he would summon the prosecutor general
unless the prosecution improves its case, el-Zayat said. 

The judge's threat comes as Egypt is being criticized for its handling
of charges against suspected terrorists and homosexuals. 

A United Nations panel said Friday that the government is breaching an
international human rights treaty by using a very broad definition of
terrorism in arrests and by imposing prison sentences on 23 homosexuals
arrested at a party on a Nile riverboat last year. 

The men convicted of debauchery for attending the party received
sentences of one to five years in prison after a trial in an emergency
court -- which usually rules in cases of national security and

The U.N. Human Rights Committee urged Egypt to ensure that "legitimate
action against terrorism" does not violate the 1976 Covenant on Civil
and Political Rights. 

The 26 Muslim militants on trial for allegedly trying to revive the
Islamic Liberation Army include three men from Britain -- Ian Malcolm
Nisbett, Maajid Nawaz, and Reza Pankhurst -- who assert their innocence
and say they were made to confess under duress. 

Nawaz claimed when the case opened Oct. 20 that he was beaten up,
tortured with electric shock and had his hands cuffed behind his back. 

They were among 86 men arrested in April on charges of belonging to the
shadowy Islamic group that Egyptian authorities suppressed after an
attempted 1974 coup. Sixty were later cleared. 

Source:  The Associated Press

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