12 charged with promoting Shia doctrine and plotting coup

Egypt's security prosecution has charged 12 Shia Muslims with promoting Shia doctrine, insulting the companions of Prophet Mohamed, plotting to overthrow the ruling regime, and receiving foreign funds.

The group, which was arrested in August, is comprised of Egyptian, Moroccan, Iraqi, and Australian nationals.

On Tuesday, the suspects confessed to being Shia believers and admitted they do not recognize the Caliphs that followed the Prophet Mohamed.

The suspects will be detained for 15 days, pending further developments.

Shia Muslims represent less than 0.5 percent of Egypt's total population of roughly 78 million.

Egypt's constitution grants freedom of religion to all citizens, but rights campaigners say the country's Shias face systematic police harassment.

Analysts suspect the move intends to send a message to Iran, whose influence in the Arab World is on the rise. In recent months, the Shia power has been blamed for fomenting sectarian strife in the Gulf region among other areas. 

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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