Egypt to Try 94 Islamists Sunday
The trial of 94 Islamists, including two who attended Florida flight schools like those implicated in the September 11 terror attacks on the United States, will begin Sunday, a defense lawyer told AFP.
The trial will open at Cairo's high military court, the setting chosen by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, lawyer Mamduh Ismail said Thursday.
Two of the main defendants hold dual citizenship, with Mohamed Hisham Seif el-Dine being Egyptian-American, and Hisham Mohamed Mahmed Diab being Egyptian-Dutch, judicial sources said last month.
Seif el-Dine and another defendant, whose name was not immediately available, trained as civilian pilots in Florida, according to sources close to the Egyptian interior ministry.
The cell had allegedly been plotting "large-scale operations in Egypt on different very important targets," local reports, cited by the agency, had said.
However, Mubarak denied the men had links with Qaeda.
The suspects, whose group was named Al-Waad (the promise) by the Egyptian press, are reported to have links with the Egyptian armed Islamist groups Jihad and Gamaa Islamiya, as well as the non-violent Muslim Brotherhood.
Among the original 83 suspects are a Yemeni and three citizens of the Russian republic of Daghistan, prosecutors said.
The rest were listed as Egyptians.
The defendants are accused of "belonging to an illegal organization and raising funds on behalf of a foreign party," a reference to the breakaway Russian republic of Chechnya.
Two of the main accused, Magdi Hassan Idriss and Hisham El Sayed Metwalli, trained their recruits in Cairo gymnasiums which they co-owned.
Most of the suspects had reportedly traveled to Chechnya before their arrests, said AFP.
President Mubarak has also ordered a military trial for 21 recently arrested members of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, according to court officials cited by the BBC Online this week.
No date has yet been set for the trial of the men, who were arrested more than a week ago, said the news service.
They were charged with belonging to "an illegal organization," court sources said.
Egypt has cracked down on Muslim militants since the events of Sept. 11, with some 260 suspected militants arrested in the past month – Albawaba.com
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