‘Zeitoun cell’ suspects claim police torture

In their first court session Sunday, defendants in what has come to be known as the case of the "Zeitoun cell"–charged with armed robbery and plotting terrorist operations–claimed they had been tortured by police to extract confessions. There are a total of 25 defendants in the case, including two Palestinians.

The session was held under heavy security. Relatives of the defendants and media representatives were not permitted to attend.

At the end of the session, the presiding judge announced a decision to adjourn proceedings until 20 March in order to give the defense team a chance to review police investigation reports.

Prosecutors have charged alleged cell leader Mohamed Fahim with forming a group aimed at toppling Egypt’s ruling regime, assaulting Christians and tourists and attacking vessels transiting the Suez Canal. According to the prosecution, investigators seized remote-control devices with which the group intended to blow up automobiles, GPS devices used to locate strategic targets, and designs for a kind of rocket–known as the V1–used during the Second World War.

The defendants were further charged with armed robbery and premeditated murder for the 2008 killing of a Christian jeweler and three others in Cairo’s Zeitoun district.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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