Court turns down MB appeal request

The Heliopolis Misdemeanors Court turned down a request for appeal filed by members of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) opposition movement against an earlier decision to prolong the detention of several influential members of the group. The court instead ordered that the defendants remain in police custody.

Essam el-Erian, member of the MB’s authoritative Guidance Bureau, was allowed to represent himself, while the court considered prolonging custody of 11 group members accused establishing a female wing of the MB and of forming a "clandestine organization" that follows the principles of Sayyid Qutb, an Islamist thinker who is cited as the founder of the violent jihad movement.

The session began at 1 PM with the court ordering the defendants un-cuffed following objections raised by defense lawyers. Along with el-Erian, the accused include Guidance Bureau members Abdel Rahman el-Berr and Mohi Hamed, along with MB Deputy Supreme Guide Mohamed Ezzat.

The three men flashed the "v" sign for victory as they entered the courtroom.

El-Erian justified his refusal to answer questions posed by prosecutors. "I already answered these queries in a 200-hour interrogation," he said. "I even made friends with some of my interrogators."

The defense team included Mahmoud el-Khodeiri, former vice president of the Court of Cassation; Mahmoud el-Saqqa, member of the liberal Wafd Party’s supreme committee; Mohamed el-Damati, member of the board of the Lawyers Syndicate; Montaser el-Zayyat, prominent Islamist lawyer; Saad Abboud, member of parliament; along with lawyers Nabil Abdel Salam, Ahmed Bu Baraka, Mamdouh Ismail, Ahmed el-Hamrawi, Nasr el-Hati and Sayyed Gadallah.

El-Khodeiry called for the unconditional release of all the defendants, citing the absence of justification for their prolonged detention, as well as the overall lack of evidence except for a police report deemed insufficient and potentially flawed by the Court of Cassation.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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