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ISMAILIA — Three Egyptians accused of killing a man while he was walking with his fiancée have been charged with forming an Islamist vigilante group to enforce their hard-line ideas and "to terrorize" citizens, a judicial source said on Sunday.
Ahmed Hassan Eid was stabbed as he was out with his fiancée in the port city of Suez, known as a bastion of hard-line Islamism, and died later of his wounds.
The case made front-page news in Egypt, exacerbating fears of those Egyptians who are worried that zealots emboldened by the Muslim Brotherhood's rise to power will seek to impose their customs on society.
The accused had formed a group calling for "the propagation of virtue and the elimination of vice," the public prosecutor said in the document referring them to trial. It added that they faced charges of "illegally forming a group to attack personal freedoms and the rights of citizens."
"Terrorism was one of the tools used to implement their objectives," the prosecutor said in the document obtained by Reuters, identifying the accused as a 26-year-old electrician, a 26-year-old shipyard worker and a 32-year-old state employee.
The three men had confronted Eid while he was sitting in a public park with his fiancée. He was stabbed in his upper thigh in what the prosecutor described as act of premeditated murder.
Egypt's mainstream Islamist groups, including ultraorthodox Salafi movements, that have moved to the heart of public life since Hosni Mubarak was removed from power are opposed the use of violence.
The first session of the trial has yet to be set.