Sunday, May 2, 2010

Mubarak's War on Islamists

On Wednesday, an Egyptian court convicted 26 men of spying for Hezbollah and plotting attacks on Egyptian soil on behalf of the Lebanese militant group.

The men, including Lebanese, Egyptians, Palestinians, and one Sudanese, received sentences ranging from six months to life in prison.

Hezbollah’s leader, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, has strongly criticized the Egyptian courts for jailing the men accused of working for his organization. He said the judgment by the Security Court in Cairo was "unjust and politicized."

Amnesty International on Thursday called for a retrial of 26 defendants, criticizing the use of an emergency court.

"These men should be retried by an ordinary court which gives them a chance of getting a fair trial," said the London-based rights watchdog.

Hezbollah’s differences with Egypt hit a pinnacle during Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in Gaza. Egypt’s decision to keep the Rafah exits from Gaza sealed infuriated Nasrallah, who, on December 28, 2008, called for the Egyptian people to help the besieged Gazans and called on the Egyptian government to open the Rafah border crossing.

"Oh Egyptian official, unless you open the Rafah border crossing, unless you help your brethren in Gaza, you will be accomplices to the crime, accomplices to the killing, accomplices to the siege, and accomplices in generating the Palestinian catastrophe," he said in a televised speech.

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