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 Monday, 23 December, 2002, 17:32 GMT
Fears for Egypt trial Briton
Reza Pankhurst, Maajid Nawaz and Ian Nisbet
Britons Reza Pankhurst, Maajid Nawaz and Ian Nisbet
The father of one of three Britons accused in Egypt of promoting a banned Islamic group has described his family's anxiety over the continuing trial.

Britons Ian Nisbet, Reza Pankhurst and Maajid Nawaz, all in their 20s and originally from London, are being tried at Cairo's State Court.

The three were arrested in April and on Monday their case was once again adjourned, to 25 December, after a day in which little progress was made.

The father of Maajid, Mohammad Nawaz, who has been watching proceedings in Cairo, said his family was desperately concerned.

'Where is daddy?'

"Everybody is so worried and they cannot come and see him. They cannot afford to come here."

Much of the family lived in Pakistan, Mr Nawaz said.

He added: "They keep ringing and they are crying on the telephone.

"Maajid has a two-year old son. He remembers the police and security breaking into the house. He asks 'Where is daddy?'."

The three are appearing alongside 23 Egyptian nationals, accused of trying to revive the banned Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir.

Books and computers

In an earlier hearing, dozens of books found at the homes of the three were sent to al-Azhar University in Cairo to assess whether the literature was anti-constitutional, their lawyer Sadiq Khan said.

All three are accused of promoting, both in speech and writing, the goals of Hizb-ut-Tahrir or the Islamic Liberation Party - a group which is banned in many Middle Eastern countries.

Both Mr Nawaz and Mr Pankhurst are also accused of possessing and distributing printed literature which "promoted Hizb-ut-Tahrir's message".

Mr Pankhurst faces a third charge of possessing a computer used for "propagating" the group's ideology.

The Britons are not charged with being members of the organisation, nor of attempting to overthrow the Egyptian state, said Mr Khan.

Torture claims

The trial resumed on Saturday after a long adjournment for Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting.

At that hearing, medical reports on injuries suffered by two Egyptian men accused of similar offences showed they bore "visible" signs of torture months after their arrest.

The three Britons have also claimed they were tortured and forced to sign confessions while in custody.

At an earlier hearing, Mr Pankhurst described his ordeal in prison, saying he was stripped naked and tortured with electric shocks.

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

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  ON THIS STORY
  The BBC's Heba Saleh
"They have a number of Egyptian lawyers"

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See also:

21 Dec 02 | England
20 Oct 02 | England
18 Oct 02 | England
17 Oct 02 | England
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