A mass trial of 215 alleged members of the Cairo-based militant group Helwan Brigades has been postponed to 19 October following the failure to bring defendants to court.
The 215 defendants are charged with forming a group to carry out hostile operations against the police, and sabotage electric facilities, including electricity pylons.
The accused were referred to court in February, with 125 of the defendants then in pre-trial detention and the remaining 90 with warrants for their arrest. The defendants were referred by then-prosecutor general Hisham Barakat, who was killed in June in an explosion claimed by “Islamic State”. Barakat accused the 215 men of killing six police men, and possessing weapons and ammunitions.
The Helwan Brigades are a relatively little-known militant group in Egypt. They achieved fame after the appearance of a video in late 2014 in which a dozen men wearing balaclavas and holding firearms addressed a camera in a residential district. Calling themselves the Helwan Brigades, they threatened the “Interior Ministry in South Cairo”, and expressed solidarity with killed Muslim Brotherhood protesters, although maintaining they were not members of the now-banned group.
Egypt has seen numerous mass trials over the two years, since general-turned-president Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi led the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi, which brought the former to power. Hundreds have collectively received death sentences, on legal grounds that have been cause for major criticism.