Brotherhood trial adjourns to Sunday amid allegations of police theft

Brotherhood trial adjourns to Sunday amid allegations of police theft

The military trial of Muslim Brotherhood Deputy Chairman Khayrat El Shater and 39 others has been adjourned to Sunday, Sept. 9, after its tenth meeting on Tuesday devolved into an argument between the defense and the judge about the fate of money seized by police during the arrests of the defendants, according to Brotherhood sources.

Zahraa El Shater, daughter of Khayrat El Shater and wife of Ayman Abdul Ghani — who is also on trial before the military court — says that during the arrests police confiscated money and other valuables from Brotherhood members’ homes but never entered them as evidence in the case.

She describes it as an act of theft, and says that both the police and the presiding judge in the case have so far refused to investigate the matter.

“Our lawyers asked the judge to investigate where all this money went and to investigate the police for theft, but he would not listen,” El Shater told Daily News Egypt.

“When the lawyers asked any questions that embarrassed the police witnesses, like any question about the missing money, or why the prosecution has never seen any of it if it was supposed to be evidence, the judge stops the questioning,” she added. “He says ‘stop this questioning, the court refuses this question.’”

Also on Tuesday, military police denied entry to Ammar El Qurabi, a representative of both the Arab Organization for Human Rights and the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights.

Qurabi had permission from the Foreign Ministry to attend the trial as an international observer, but at the court house was told that to attend the proceedings he needed permission from military intelligence, which he was unable to obtain.

The case has attracted both international attention and condemnation because the men were acquitted of the same charges before a civilian court, only to be rearrested inside the court room and immediately re-charged with the same crimes before a military judge.

Brotherhood members and their families say they are beginning to feel the pressure of the trial. Some defendants have seen their health deteriorate in prison, including El Shater, who has developed a potentially serious leg infection complicated by diabetes. 

“There are so many pressures on us,” said Zahraa El Shater. “The law is not respected inside this court room. It is very hard to be in a place where there is no media allowed and no human rights organizations allowed … and to know that no one outside knows what is happening.”