• December 17, 2007
  • 1 minute read

Egyptian court drops terrorism charges against Islamists

An Egyptian court has dropped terrorism charges against 40 members of the opposition Muslim Brotherhood.

Defence lawyer Abdel Moneim Abdel Maqsud says that the court dropped charges against the men “of participating in a terrorist organisation”, which carries the death penalty, substituting a lesser charge of “membership of an illegal organisation”.The 40 men have been on trial before a military court, where the proceedings are held in camera, since April 26.

The defendants include Khayrat al-Shater, the no. 3 man in the Brotherhood, who together with other businessmen linked to the group had their assets frozen and were referred to the military court in February.

Egyptian authorities accuse the movement, which controls a fifth of the seats in Parliament, of seeking to revive its underground military wing and of eventually trying to topple the regime.The government began using military courts to try members of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamic groups in the 1990s when they were not being convicted by the civilian courts.