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Last Updated: Saturday, 19 April, 2003, 14:24 GMT 15:24 UK
Britons' Egypt trial delayed again
Reza Pankhurst, Maajid Nawaz, Ian Nisbet
The trio's trial has been subject to delays
Supporters of three British men accused by Egypt of promoting a banned Islamic group spoke of their frustration after the trial suffered another delay.

Ian Nisbet, 28, Reza Pankhurst, 27, and Maajid Nawaz, 25, all originally from London, are accused of trying to revive Hizb-ut-Tahrir, the Islamic Liberation Party.

Nisbet and Pankhurst, both IT consultants, and Nawaz, a university student reading law and Arabic, were arrested in Egypt last April.

The Britons claimed they were tortured with electric shocks and denied access to lawyers and consular officials while in prison awaiting the beginning of their trial.

The trio also alleged they were forced to sign confessions in Arabic which they could not read.

This latest delay to the trial came after the Emergency High State Security Court, in Cairo, adjourned the trial to 21 June.

'Kick in the teeth'

Lawyers for the trio say the delay was issued for no reason, despite assurances given to British ambassador John Sawers by Egyptian authorities that there would be no more delays.

Mr Pankhurst's wife, Hodan, spoke of her family's frustration at the continued delays to their trial.

"It's a kick in the teeth. It's so painful for our kids as well", she said.

"Today they were huddled around the phone thinking daddy was going to call them.

This delay is another demonstration that the authorities carry on as if they are a law unto themselves without the slightest regard for legality or justice
Hodan Pankhurst

The whole thing is a punishment in itself."

She said it was terrible to think of her husband locked up in a cage in Cairo.

She added: "It seems obvious that the words `justice' and `humane' do not feature in the Egyptian authority's dictionary.

"This delay is another demonstration that the authorities carry on as if they are a law unto themselves without the slightest regard for legality or justice."

Attempted coup

All three are standing trial alongside 23 Egyptian men at the Cairo court.

The defendants are charged with promoting, both in speech and writing, the goals of Hizb-ut-Tahrir.

Both Nawaz and Pankhurst are also accused of possessing and distributing printed literature which "promoted Hizb-ut-Tahrir's message", while Pankhurst faces a third charge of possessing a computer used for "propagating" the group's ideology.

Hizb-ut-Tahrir was banned in Egypt following an attempted coup in 1974.

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Britons 'tortured' in Egypt
20 Oct 02  |  England

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