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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 March, 2005, 10:05 GMT
Egypt jail trio rap UK 'apathy'
Ian Nisbet and Maajid Nawaz
The Britons were sentenced one year ago
Three Britons, who claim to have been tortured in jail in Egypt, are accusing the UK of doing nothing to free them.

The three were jailed last March for supporting a banned Islamic political party, but say they were convicted on evidence obtained by torture.

Ian Nisbet, Reza Pankhurst and Maajid Nawaz were jailed for five years each. They will be freed in 2007 having already spent time in detention.

UK diplomats say they have taken up the case at the highest levels in Egypt.

The men were arrested for trying to revive Hizb al-Tahrir in Egypt, which is banned there but legal in the UK.

The Egyptian judicial authorities have said that medical examinations of the three showed no evidence of torture - but the defendants told reporters they were only examined several weeks after it occurred.

Holiday destination

In letters sent to the BBC coinciding with the first anniversary of the conviction, the men say they are angry and disappointed with the UK Foreign Office.

They say that diplomats made various assurances to them, but these have come to nothing.

They also questioned whether Prime Minister Tony Blair should holiday in a country where British citizens have been tortured, as they claim to have been.

The families of the men say they signed confessions extracted under torture and written in Arabic which they could not understand.

They also claim the books found on them, which the court said were illegal, were found to be on sale in a book fair in Cairo.

Nisbet, 30, of Upton Park, east London and originally from Oxfordshire, and Pankhurst, 29, are computer consultants, while Nawaz, 27, from Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex, is an undergraduate studying Arabic and law.

The Hizb al-Tahrir was founded in 1953 and seeks to put all Muslim countries under a single Islamic state. It is legal and active in the UK.


SEE ALSO:
Verdict on Egypt Britons delayed
25 Dec 03 |  England
Fears for Egypt trial Briton
23 Dec 02 |  England


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