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Convicted militant Islamists return to Egypt seeking rehabilitation

A number of Islamist militants who fought in jihadist causes in Afghanistan and elsewhere come home to appeal Mubarak-era convictions

Ahram Online, Sunday 4 Sep 2011
Shawki El-Islambouli
Shawki El-Islambouli, brother of Sadat's assassin, Khaled El-Islambouli, smiling to cameras upon his return to Egypt.
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Montasser El-Zayat, a well-known lawyer for Islamist groups in Egypt, told Ahram Online that a number of exiled Islamists have voluntarily decided to return to their country to defend their honour and clear their names.

During the past two decades Mubarak’s regime had prosecuted and doled out the death sentence to a number of Islamists who had fought in Afghanistan and Kosovo.

Following the outbreak of the Egyptian revolution and Mubarak’s departure last February, some of these Islamists who had received various harsh sentences in absentia by the fallen dictator have decided to take advantage of the new conditions in Egypt. They feel there is more freedom, justice and transparency and want to appeal their sentences, El-Zayat said.

Shawki El-Islamboli, an Islamist militant and the brother of former president Sadat’s assassin, Khaled, is one of several individuals who have decided to come home. El-Islamboli  took refuge in Iran for many years and returned to Egypt last month to appeal his conviction on charges of sponsoring terrorist attacks in Egypt in the 1990's.

El-Zayat denied allegations that the return of these Islamists, who have advocated the use of violence in the past against Mubarak, is part of any deal with the ruling military council. He added that Islamists have renounced violence since 1998 and that there will be no going back.

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