CAIRO: The military trial of Muslim Brotherhood leader Khayrat El Shater and 39 others continues today, as the latest in a string of foreign human rights lawyers attempts to observe the proceedings, which have so far been closed to both media and international monitors.
Gamila Sadek, a Syrian attorney representing the Paris-based Arab Committee for Human Rights, arrived in Egypt last night. She is one of several representatives of that group who have tried to observe the trial. All have been turned away.
“She will attend the trial, but we don’t expect that they will let her enter because they don’t let anyone in, Zahraa El Shater told Daily News Egypt. Zahraa is the daughter of Khayrat El Shater and the wife of Ayman Abdel Ghany, who is also a defendant in the case.
“It is good to see that there are organizations and people out there who support us, but for the Egyptian government it doesn’t matter, she continued. “They won’t let her in, but we do appreciate her support.
Khayrat El Shater and his co-defendants stand accused of being members of a banned organization and money laundering, charges which they were acquitted of before a civil court last year.
On the day of their acquittal they were re-arrested before leaving the courtroom and recharged with the same crimes before a military court, which is empowered to sentence them to death and whose decisions they cannot appeal.
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.
Since then, over a thousands members of the group have been detained, including top leaders like El Shater.