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 Saturday, 21 December, 2002, 17:38 GMT
Islamists allege Egypt torture
Ian Nisbet
The detainees say they were tortured into confession
A group of 25 people accused of trying to overthrow the Egyptian Government say they have been tortured while in police custody.

A medical report heard at the resumption of their trial on Saturday about the health of seven of the accused said they had old injuries, the causes of which were not possible to discern.

But the group, which includes three Britons, says medical examinations into their conditions had been impeded, court sources told Reuters news agency.

This is excellent news and very important to our case because it corroborates the complaints we have been making since day one

Sadiq Khan
Defence lawyer
The men are accused of belonging to an illegal Islamist group, the Islamic Liberation Party (Hizb ut-Tahrir).

They were arrested in April and say they were tortured and forced to sign confessions while in custody.

The accused have been held under emergency laws introduced after President Anwar Sadat's assassination at the hands of Islamic militants in 1981.

'Scapegoats'

One of the Britons, Reza Pankhurst, held a sign reading "political scapegoats" before entering the courtroom.

"There is no God but Allah and Mohamed is his prophet. God is great and thank you God," he said, holding the sign aloft.

Medical reports on injuries suffered by two Egyptians in the group disclosed that they showed "visible" signs of torture, said lawyer Sadiq Khan.

Reza Pankhurst
Reza Pankhurst said they were scapegoats
Mr Khan said: "This is excellent news and very important to our case because it corroborates the complaints we have been making since day one.

He has said he was "hopeful" that the case against the Britons would collapse.

The trial was adjourned until Sunday, with the judge requesting medical evidence on a third Egyptian man, who has since been released.

Human rights group Amnesty International has called the allegations of torture against the men "deeply worrying".

Egyptian authorities blame Hizb ut-Tahrir for an attempted coup in 1974 and involvement in terrorist operations.

The Islamic Liberation Party emerged in Jordan in the early 1970s and seeks to restore the caliphate - or one Islamic government for all Islamic states - through military coups across the region.

It is banned in most Middle Eastern countries.

See also:

20 Oct 02 | England
18 Oct 02 | England
17 Oct 02 | England
04 Oct 02 | England
08 Aug 02 | England
05 Aug 02 | World at One
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