CAIRO: The Cairo Criminal Court refused Monday motions filed by lawyers representing the Hezbollah cell case detainees to release them.
Lawyers had asked the court to revoke their detainment orders effective under the emergency law, in force in Egypt for 28 years.
Under the law, those detained can be held without charge for up to 30 days before a judge decides whether to renew incarceration.
The court’s refusal to approve the motion means that the 22 detainees currently being held will remain in custody until charges are bought forward and a trial date is set.
They had already been detained during the course of investigations, some for up to four months.
Lawyer Abdel-Moneim Abdel-Maqsoud told the press, “The current political tension and the media attacks of the state press has cast its shadow over the case, adding that he had not expected their release even if the court had ordered it, indicating that state security would have just issued new arrest warrants and kept them detained under emergency law.
Forty-nine people, about half whom are in custody, are being charged with operating a cell in Egypt which was taking orders from Hezbollah.
Investigations in the case have been concluded and the case is with the Prosecutor General Abdel-Meguid Mahmoud who will decide which court to refer the case to.
The case has led to criticism of Hezbollah by the Egyptian government, which has taken affront at the perceived temerity of the Lebanese Shia group. The state press has followed suit, constantly attacking the group and its leader Hassan Nasrallah.