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Trial of Al-Qaeda leader’s brother postponed

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Mohamed Al-Zawahri, 67 others, accused of establishing a terrorist organisation

The Cairo Criminal Court postponed Sunday the first trial session for jihadist Mohamed Al-Zawahiri’s to 3 July after defendants in the case were unable to arrive from their prison.

Al-Zawahiri, brother of Al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri and a high-ranking leader of militant group Al-Jihadeya Al-Salafeya (The Salafi Jihad), was arrested on 17 August.

Al-Zawahiri was referred to the criminal court along with 67 others on 6 April, accused of “establishing and managing a terrorist organisation”.

They also stand accused of targeting Egyptian authorities, attempted overthrow of the government, attacking military and police facilities and property, and targeting Copts and their places of worship.

The prosecution ordered the renewed detention of 50 defendants, and the arrest of 18 other escapees.

The prosecution’s investigations showed that the defendants are “extremely dangerous terrorists”, said state-owned newspaper Al-Ahram. They also showed that Al-Zawahiri used the political changes in Egypt to resume his jihadist leadership activity, inside and outside the country, Al-Ahram added.

Al-Zawahiri was caught attempting to pass through a police checkpoint three days after the dispersal of the pro-Mohamed Morsi sit-ins at Rabaa Al-Adaweya and Nahda Squares, where he was identified by security officials and arrested.

Al-Zawahiri was found guilty and sentenced to death in absentia in the 1999 “Returnees from Albania” trial. He was extradited by the UAE and imprisoned until 2011 when he was released by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces among other detainees considered to be political prisoners. Although arrested again only days later, Al-Zawahiri was later acquitted and released in 2012.

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Aya Nader

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