CAIRO: The defense team representing detainees in the Hezbollah cell case argued that the defendants were carrying out armed resistance in the spirit of former Egyptian President Gamal Abdel-Nasser.
The trial of what has become known as the “Hezbollah terrorism cell case is being heard in the Supreme State Security Emergency Court. During the Saturday hearing, the defense team argued that the activities of the defendants were linked to resistance against Israeli occupation.
The defense team made a comparison between Arab Nationalist leader and former Egyptian president Abdel-Nasser and Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, who both spoke out against colonialism and occupation.
The defense team argued that the activities of the cell were only related to aiding the Hamas resistance group in Gaza against Israel, highlighting that none of their activities were related to any operations inside Egypt.
The defense team admitted that the defendants were training Palestinians in Egypt, but for operations in the Gaza Strip. There were no plans to carry out any operations inside Egypt.
There are 26 defendants in the Hezbollah cell case, four of whom are being tried in absentia. The main defendant is Lebanese Sami Shihab, who was the cell’s ringleader in Egypt.
They stand accused of forming a terrorist cell affiliated to Hezbollah that was supplying arms to Hamas in the Gaza Strip and also planning attacks on Egyptian soil.
The trial resumes on Sunday.
There have been allegations that the defendants had been tortured under State Security custody during the initial investigation process.
The announcement of the cell’s capture last year led to a war of words between Egypt and Hezbollah, especially as Hezbollah had strongly criticized the Egyptian government for its role in the Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip in December 2008.
State Security Prosecutor Hisham Badawi had accused the two Lebanese members, Muhammed Qublan and Shihab of entering Egypt with falsified passports in order to form an organization to smuggle weapons into Israel as well as target Israeli ships passing through the Suez Canal.
He cited that they rented houses near the canal to monitor the movement of ships. Badawi claimed the leader was Hezbollah commander Muhammed Qublan, who is not in custody.
Badawi accused the Egyptian defendants of conspiring with a foreign entity to commit terrorist acts on Egyptian soil, including against tourists and tourism sites.
They are also accused of digging an underground tunnel in the town of Rafah on the border leading into the Gaza Strip and to smuggle people and goods.
The ages of the 26 defendants range between 17 and 46, the youngest two being the Palestinian defendants, who are aged 17 and 19 respectively.