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Muslim Brotherhood leaders complain of torture during 'espionage trial'

Defence team for 36 leading Brotherhood figures says that their defendants have been subjected to a 'slow death' at the hands of torturing police officers while in detention

El-Sayed Gamal El-Deen , Wednesday 16 Apr 2014
Fareed Ismail
Freedom and Justice Party ex-MP Farid Ismail (Photo: Muslim Brotherhood's official English website Ikhwanweb)
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The trial of 36 Muslim Brotherhood leaders including former president Mohamed Morsi on charges of espionage was adjourned to 22 April to look into new evidence and to allow for the defence to visit their clients.

During the session on Wednesday, former MP and Brotherhood leader Fareed Ismail complained of systematic torture practised against the defendants at the hands of the police, saying they're being subjected to "slow death".

The defence lawyers of Morsi's presidential advisor Essam El-Hadad along with chief of staff Rifaa Tahtawi, deputy chief-of-staff Asaad Sheikha and head of the presidential media office Ayman Ali filed a complaint saying their defendants were kidnapped after 3 July from the Republican Guard headquarters.

Morsi and the 35 other Brotherhood figures stand accused of collaborating with foreign organisations to commit acts of terrorism in Egypt, revealing defence secrets to a foreign country, funding terrorists and organising military training "to achieve the purposes of the international organisation of the Brotherhood," according to a statement from the prosecution.

The defendants are accused of collaborating with Gaza-based Hamas, the Lebanese Shia group Hezbollah and other organisations "inside and outside" of Egypt to smuggle arms, organise military training for group members in the Gaza Strip and fund a scheme to stir chaos and threaten national security in Egypt.

In March, an Egyptian court banned all activities in Egypt by Hamas pending a court verdict in the espionage case.

The defendants also include Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie, former speaker of parliament Mohamed El-Katatni and Ahmed Abdel-Ati, ex-head of Morsi's presidential office.

Nineteen of the defendants, including Morsi, are already behind bars. The public prosecutor has issued an arrest warrant for the remaining 17.

Morsi also faces a number of other charges in separate court cases, including counts of incitement to murder and of breaking out of prison in 2011.

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