Egypt's high military court postponed a verdict expected Tuesday on 20 members of the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood, charged with reactivating their banned movement.
The court said the verdict will now be delivered on November 18, saying its decision was taken because the defendants were not in court.
The court did not say whether the defendants had refused to leave their prison cells to attend court or if their absence was for another reason.
The verdict had already been twice postponed since July in what the Brotherhood charged was an attempt to stop the defendants from standing for parliament if found not guilty.
Two thirds of the 454 seats in the People's Assembly have already been won -- 15 of them by the Muslim Brotherhood -- in a month of legislative elections that are due to wind up next week.
The court at the Huckstep military base, 30 kilometers (19 miles) north of Cairo, has accused the defendants, including a former member of parliament and two university professors, of damaging social peace, belonging to an illegal organization and trying to take control of trade unions.
President Hosni Mubarak provoked outrage from human rights groups and sparked student protests when he issued a decree last year ordering the civilians to be tried before the high military court.
The defendants have been in jail since their arrest in October 1999, which marked the beginning of the biggest crackdown in four years on the illegal but generally tolerated Muslim Brotherhood – CAIRO (AFP)
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