Egyptian Court Postpones Verdict Against Accused Muslim Brotherhood Activists
On Sunday, an Egyptian military court postponed the verdict against 22 men charged with trying to revive the activities of the banned Muslim Brotherhood.
The presiding judge at the High Military Court of Cairo provided no reason for delaying the verdict until May 26th and a judicial source told AFP News Agency later only that the court wanted to "finish studying the case file."
The military prosecutor has demanded that the 22 alleged members of the Brotherhood receive life sentences, which could mean 25 years in jail with forced labor. None of the defendants appeared in court on Sunday, the day the verdict had been set to be handed down.
The prosecutor repeated accusations that the defendants made "attempts to re-launch the activities of the movement." He added that they were trying to spread ideas amongst the working classes "with the goal of taking power," judicial sources said at the time.
Some of the defendants are also accused of collecting donations and founding an information technology company, which aimed to funnel its revenues to the Brotherhood.
Membership in the Brotherhood is itself illegal, in spite of the fact it forms the largest popular opposition movement to Egypt's secular regime, which will mark 50 years in power this July, AFP added.
Amongst the defendants are nine university professors as well as five doctors and three engineers.
The Brotherhood calls for the creation of an Islamic state in Egypt, however rejects armed struggle against the regime.
The Brotherhood, which has affiliates throughout the Arab world, issued a statement in December condemning the trial saying it was "not based on any tangible evidence."
Meanwhile, numerous local and international rights groups have also condemned the trials of civilians in Egypt's military courts.
The trial, which began in December, is the country's third major military prosecution of alleged members of the Islamist group since 1995.
Since the terror attacks of September 11 on United States cities, authorities in Egypt have taken a more aggressive stand towards Islamist groups. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)