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Egyptian Court Convicts 51 for Militant Activities

Terrorism: Main defendants were charged with planning to assassinate Mubarak.

September 10, 2002|From Associated Press

HAEKSTEP, Egypt — A military court convicted 51 suspected members of a Muslim militant group on a variety of charges Monday and sentenced them to two to 15 years in prison.

In all, 94 men were tried, 43 of whom were acquitted. The main defendants were charged with founding an illegal group that planned to assassinate President Hosni Mubarak and other public figures and to attack government institutions. Six were tried in absentia.

Prosecutors dubbed the group Al Waad--or "The Promise"--and said it was new.

Charges included belonging to the group, possessing explosives and ammunition and raising funds without authorization for rebels in Chechnya and Hamas militants in the Palestinian territories.

The defendants had said they did not even belong to a group.

The accused had acknowledged, however, raising funds for groups they saw as fellow Muslims in trouble.

Raising charity funds without government permission is punishable under an Egyptian military decree designed to limit the activities of Islamic groups.

Three defendants received the harshest sentences of 15 years: Egyptians Magdi Hassan Idris, 33, and Omar Abdel Aziz Khalifa, 36; and Omar Hagayev Mahdi, 36, from the southern Russian republic of Dagestan, which borders Chechnya.

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