Egypt's Military Court Postpones Verdict on 20 Members of Muslim Brotherhood
Egypt's high military court on Sunday postponed until September 3 its verdict in the trial of 20 Muslim Brothers charged with reactivating their banned movement.
The court at the Huckstep military base, 30 kilometers (19 miles) north of Cairo, was due to pass judgment Sunday but gave no reason for the deferral. The trial began on December 25.
The defendants, including two university professors and a former member of parliament, are accused of damaging social peace, belonging to an illegal organization and trying to gain control of trade unions.
President Hosni Mubarak provoked outrage from human rights groups and sparked student protests when he issued a decree in October last year ordering the civilians to be tried before the high military court.
The defendants have been in jail since their arrest in October, which marked the biggest crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood in four years. Since then over 100 other Muslim Brothers have been arrested.
Military court rulings cannot be contested through the courts and, if found guilty, the defendants' only recourse is to appeal to Mubarak.
But the president has never yet commuted the sentences of Islamists previously tried by military courts.
The Brotherhood, which is partly tolerated but officially banned here, is accused of encouraging violence although the group says publicly it is seeking to establish an Islamic state through peaceful means -- HUCKSTEP, Egypt
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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