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Middle east

Egypt to keep accused Hezbollah plotters in custody

Video by Luke BROWN

Latest update : 2009-04-10

Egypt's public prosecutor ordered on Thursday that 49 people held for plotting attacks on behalf of Lebanese Shi'ite group Hezbollah be kept in custody for a further 15 days.

AFP - Egypt's public prosecutor ordered on Thursday that 49 people held for plotting attacks on behalf of Lebanese Shi'ite group Hezbollah be kept in custody for a further 15 days, a judicial source said.
  
"The public prosecutor decided to detain the members of the group affiliated with Hezbollah for 15 days for questioning on suspicion of membership in a clandestine organisation calling for rebellion" against the country's leadership, the source said.
  
On Wednesday, the prosecutor said in a statement that an investigation determined the men had been commissioned by Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah to conduct attacks in Egypt.
  
It was not immediately clear when the arrests were made. The detention may be renewed every 15 days for six months, when the prosecution must either charge them or release them.
  
The suspects are also accused of espionage, forging official documents and preparing explosives.
  
Hezbollah has not commented on the allegations.
  
Montassar el-Zayat, a lawyer for some of the defendants, said relatives had asked him to represent them but that he had not been allowed to meet them or attend interrogations.
  
Zayat accused security of bringing politically motivated charges against the suspects.
  
"My impression is that it is a fabricated case created by Egyptian security in the context of bad relations between Hezbollah and Egypt. It is a pressure card," he said.
  
He said Lebanese and Palestinians were among those arrested.
  
Hezbollah, a Shi'ite group that is backed by Egypt's regional rivals Iran and Syria, is a vocal supporter of Hamas, the Islamist rulers of the Gaza Strip and has lashed out at Egypt for closing its crossing with the Palestinian enclave.

Date created : 2009-04-10

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