CAIRO: The military trial of Khayrat El Shater, deputy head of the Muslim Brotherhood, and 39 other members of the organization continues today amid concerns over both the legitimacy of the proceedings and the defendants’ health conditions.
El Shater, who is being tried for money laundering and membership of a banned organization, is a diabetic who also suffers from heart problems and high blood pressure.
Last week he developed a severe infection in his leg, and his family fears if it is left untreated his leg may have to be amputated.
So far, they say, the management of Tora prison has not allowed him to see a doctor who they consider qualified.
“The hospital in the prison is even dirtier and worse than the prison itself. We would rather he stay in his prison cell than be sent to that dirty hospital, Zahraa El Shater, daughter of Khairat El Shater, told Daily News Egypt.
His family complains that although El Shater is being denied adequate treatment, he is still made to attend lengthy court sessions.
“On Monday he had to sit for nine hours at the hearing, which caused him horrible pain in his leg, said Ibrahim El Houdaiby, director of Ikhwanweb.com. “Instead of helping to improve his condition they are actually making it worse.
Brotherhood sources deride the trial as “nonsense. They say the military prosecutions, which could result in the death penalty and cannot be appealed, are politically motivated and part of a broad crackdown against opposition forces.
Furthermore, they say, the prosecution case against 40 men relies almost entirely on one witness, state security officer Atef Al Husseini, who refuses to provide any detailed evidence in his testimony.
“This man is the main witness in every case, but every time they ask him a question he says ‘I don’t remember’ or ‘that is classified information,’ added El Houdaiby. “He does not provide any information or evidence in his testimony, so why should the defendants even be there?
The Brotherhood is Egypt’s most influential opposition group. It holds 88 seats in the 454 member People’s Assembly, which it won during a brief period of political opening that coincided with elections in the fall of 2005.
More than 600 members of the group, including top leaders such as El Shater, have been detained since December.