Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Egypt closes trial doors to human rights groups

“We spent four hours negotiating with the security ... but we were turned away in the end,” explained Elijah Zarwan of Human Rights Watch. Zarwan represents one of four human rights groups that were banned from observing a closed trial of members of the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo on Sunday, according to Reuters.

The Brotherhood, one of Egypt’s largest opposition groups, currently has 40 members on trial for various charges, including money laundering and terrorism. While the group has been officially banned since 1954, it continues to operate openly and holds one-fifth of the parliament’s lower house. Some are suggesting the trial is a sign of the government’s attempt to crack down on non-violent Islamic groups in order prevent them from obtaining more political power.

All four human rights groups – Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights and the Arab Commission for Human Rights – were denied permits to observe the trial, which has been adjourned until July 15.

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