Five members of an Moslem group were sentenced to death by a military tribunal in Cairo on Wednesday (30 November) after being found guilty of kidnapping and killing a former Egyptian Cabinet minister last July.
Five members of an Moslem group were sentenced to death by a military tribunal in Cairo on Wednesday (30 November) after being found guilty of kidnapping and killing a former Egyptian Cabinet minister last July. The five were among 54 people accused of kidnapping and killing former Religious Endowments Minister Mohammed Hussein Zahabi, plotting to overthrow President Anwar Sadat's government by force, planting explosives in a public place and communicating with a foreign power.
SYNOPSIS: There was maximum security, when the accused all members of Al Tafkir Wal Hijira-the Society for the ??? and Flight from Sin-arrived at the court.
The organisation was founded by this man, Shukri Ahmed Mustapha in 1967. The prosecution said its basic teachings called for members to retreat into the desert or isolated areas to prepare themselves intellectually, physically and militarily, and then attack to seize power and rule the nation in accordance with their own interpretation of Islam. The sect claimed that Egypt had moved from the real path of Islam.
The trial opened before Major General Hussan Sadek on August 23rd, and all the defendants, who had pleaded not guilty to the charges, watched the proceedings through the bars of a large cage. They were defiant throughout, and at one stage Mustapha allegedly threatened to kill the military prosecutor.
The tribunal's verdict was given by General Sadek, and of the 49 not sentenced to death, 36 were given hard labour sentences, ranging from three years to life, and 13 were acquitted.
The sentences have to be confirmed by President Sadat. Dr. Zahabi's body was found on July 6th after the sect had demanded the release of 60 of its members, and a ransom of 36,000 U.S. dollars in return for his life.