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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 July, 2003, 08:31 GMT 09:31 UK
Britons' Egypt trial delayed until Christmas
Ian Nisbet, Reza Pankhurst and Maajid Nawaz
The trio's trial has been subject to delays
Three Britons in an Egyptian jail charged with promoting a banned Islamic group, will not learn their fate until Christmas Day.

Relatives of the men condemned the length of the adjournment announced by a judge in Egypt's Emergency High State Security Court.

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

Mr Nawaz and Mr 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.

The court in Cairo heard from the last of the defence lawyers on Saturday before the lengthy adjournment was announced by judge Ahmed al Ashmawi.

Rabia Ahmed, wife of father-of-one Mr Nawaz, said: "We have been without our husbands for one and a half years, by the time the verdict is given it will be nearly two, that is an extremely long time to keep men in prison when they are not even being granted bail."

Attempted coup

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

Their legal representatives in Britain have said the men claimed in their defence that signed confessions were obtained under duress.

The court has also heard that the Britons were kept illegally for more than 24 hours without access to lawyers and that the British Embassy was not informed of their detention.

All three, who were originally standing trial alongside 23 Egyptians, have claimed they were tortured with electric shocks while they were being held.

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

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15 Mar 03  |  England

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