The murder trial of 51 alleged Moslem terrorists resumed for one day in Cairo, the Egyptian capital, on Saturday (September 3).
The murder trial of 51 alleged Moslem terrorists resumed for one day in Cairo, the Egyptian capital, on Saturday (September 3). The defendants also face charges of kidnapping and plotting to overthrow the Government of President Anwar Sadat.
SYNOPSIS: Most of the accused have been locked in a specially-made cage for their trial, which began on August the 23rd. The main charge concerns the kidnapping and killing of former Egyptian Religious Affairs Minister Sheikh Hussein al-Zahabi.
They're appearing before a military tribunal under the Presidency of Major-General Hassan Sadek, who earlier ruled that 14 of them could be medically examined after they all claimed they'd been tortured in jail.
The military prosecutor has told the court that the defendants, members of a fanatical Moslem sect, also planted bombs in a Cairo, open-air cinema and the city's Institute of Oriental Music.
The defence has asked for the release of three young boys accused of acting as couriers for the sect. The request was refused but they were allowed to sit outside the cage.
The prosecution had demanded the death penalty for the accused, members of the Society for Repentance and Flight from Sin. They believe that Egypt is a heretical nation which has deviated from the doctrine of Islam and the Prophet Muhammad. On the opening day of the trial, they chanted loudly at the court: 'God is great. Down with the state of sinners. Allah will torture you. We are Allah's emissaries on earth and we will rule this society.' All the defendants have pleaded not guilty to all the charges, including the murder of Sheikh al-Zahabi, whose body was found in a deserted Cairo villa in July after he'd been kidnapped and held for ransom. Saturday's hearing was adjourned for a week after the defence asked that President Sadat appear before the court and explain statements he'd made condemning the sect.