Message to President Mubarak: MB Trials Must be Open
Amnesty International announced today that it has written to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, urging him to ensure that independent observers are permitted access to the trial of 40 members of the Muslim Brotherhood, scheduled to resume before the
The organization made this call following two earlier trial hearings when legal observers sent by Amnesty International and other human rights organizations were barred from entering the court.
"We look to President Mubarak, as
Amnesty International's trial observer, Jordanian lawyer Samieh Khreis, was previously among a number of international and Egyptian legal observers who were turned away by security officials when they attempted to enter the
Egyptian authorities have given no explanation to date for their refusal to allow independent observers to attend the trial, adding to concerns about its fairness.
The 40 defendants facing trial on 5 August 2007 include leading members of the Muslim Brotherhood, who face charges of terrorism and money-laundering that could incur the death penalty.
All are being tried before a military court on the express instructions of President Mubarak -- using powers under a 1966 law -- although none hold any position within
Seventeen of the 40 were previously tried but acquitted on the same charges by a
"We unreservedly oppose the Egyptian government's use of military courts to try civilians," said Irene Khan.
"The fact that the government has so far denied international observers access to the court only exacerbates our grave concerns." Ms Khan said