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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 February 2007, 12:23 GMT
'Mossad' trial resumes in Cairo
Mohammed al-Attar
The defendant proclaimed his innocence to reporters in court
The trial has resumed in Cairo of an Egyptian accused of spying for Israel.

Defendant Mohammed al-Attar, who has dual Canadian citizenship, denies charges of being a Mossad agent.

The 31-year-old says a confession he made was extracted under torture by Egypt's intelligence services and has asked the Canadian government for help.

Three Israelis also accused are being tried in their absence. The trial began on Saturday but was adjourned when Mr Attar's court-appointed lawyer quit.

"I call on the Canadian government to give me a lawyer and to prove my innocence," Mr Attar told reporters clustered around his cage before proceedings began.

"My confession was under torture," he added.

A former student at Cairo's al-Azhar university, Mr Attar is accused of contacting Israeli agents in Turkey and spying on expatriate Arabs there and in Canada.

Denial

A transcript of his confession seen by a Canadian newspaper said he had recruited gay or impoverished Arabs in Canada for Mossad, the Israeli foreign intelligence branch.

Mr Attar denies being homosexual, although it was cited as a reason for an application he made for refugee status with the United Nations.

Israeli officials say the Israeli authorities have only learned about the case from the media.

Human rights groups say torture, including sexual abuse, is routinely used by the Egyptian security services during interrogation of prisoners.

The government denies systematic abuse, but has investigated a number of high profile torture cases.


SEE ALSO
Egyptians release Israeli 'spy'
05 Dec 04 |  Middle East
Egyptian charged as spy for Iran
29 Jan 05 |  Middle East
Thaw in Egypt-Israel cold peace
05 Dec 04 |  Middle East
Country profile: Egypt
22 Jan 07 |  Country profiles



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