PARIS: French anti-terrorist police have freed eight Frenchmen accused by Egyptian authorities of plotting attacks in the Middle East and expelled from Egypt, judicial officials said Sunday.
The eight Frenchmen were arrested upon their arrival in France on Friday. The DSAT anti-terrorist agency released four Saturday, and four more Sunday, the judicial officials said.
The men, along with an American, two Belgians, another French citizen and an unknown number of Egyptians and Arabs from other countries, were arrested late last month by Egyptian authorities for allegedly belonging to an Islamist terror cell plotting attacks.
No details about the suspects or the accusations against them were released.
Last week, the US State Department expressed disapproval the Egyptian government’s decision to prevent US consul officials access to the American held under suspicion of plotting terrorist attacks.
State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack said “That’s not an acceptable standard, as reported by AP, in response to Egyptian authorities claim to US officials that no access will be granted until after the investigation is completed.
The Egyptian Interior Ministry had released a statement last week that they had arrested the American along with 11 Europeans and several others from Arab countries for allegedly plotting terrorist attacks in several Middle Eastern countries, including Iraq.
McCormack admitted that a time frame for consular access is not specified under the Vienna Convention which governs such access to a citizen arrested on foreign soil.
Judicial Advisor Mohammed El Naggar confirmed to The Daily Star Egypt that the government was within its rights to delay consular access. “They have the right to deny access, he said, “this is a matter of state security and that takes precedence.
Staff writer Abdel-Rahman Hussein contributed to this report