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Egypt court exonerates condemned Gamaa Islamiya members

Four members of Egypt's Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya, slapped with death sentences under Mubarak, are acquitted following re-trial by civil court

Ahram Online, Wednesday 5 Sep 2012
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The Beni Suef Criminal Court on Wednesday exonerated four members of Egypt's Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya who had been earlier sentenced to death by a military court. 

Mostafa Hamza, Refaa Taha, Othaman Siman and Mohamed El-Islamboly had all faced the ultimate penalty after being found guilty of involvement in what has become known as the 'Albania Returnees Case' of the late 1990s.

Since the sentence was never carried out, the men were eventually referred by a military tribunal to a civil court for re-trial following last year's revolution, by which they were all found not guilty.

Hamza also stands accused of attempting to assassinate ousted president Hosni Mubarak in 1995. He received an additional death sentence for his role in the so-called 'case of the Afghanistan returnees,' and a lifetime prison sentence for attacking a church in 1989 in his hometown of Beni Suef.   

The latest trial represents the first time for Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya members to be tried in a civil court.

A host of Islamist activists were released in the immediate wake of Mubarak's ouster, with the exception of those facing death sentences.

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