Saturday, February 18, 2006

Prominent Egyptian Islamist sent for trial

Saturday, February 18, 2006;

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt's public prosecutor referred a prominent member of the Muslim Brotherhood for trial in an emergency state security court on Saturday on charges related to last year's parliamentary elections, judicial sources said.

Hassan el-Hayawan, from the Nile Delta province of Sharkia, northeast of Cairo, was charged with possessing weapons and inciting violence.

But Mohamed Habib, the deputy leader of the Islamist group, which won 88 seats in the 454-member assembly in November and December polls, dismissed the charges. "I think they bugged his telephone and misunderstood what they heard," he told Reuters.

Hayawan is the only Brotherhood member to be formally charged in connection with the elections, Habib added.

Egyptian security detained more than 1,000 members during the elections and accused the group of planning violence, a charge the Brotherhood denies.

All the others have either been released or remain in detention without trial.

The Muslim Brotherhood, an officially banned organization which fields candidates as independents, is Egypt's largest opposition group.


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