Nine civilians standing military trial for the “Arab Sharkas” case had their ruling postponed on Tuesday to 28 August.
The civilians are accused of: designing a submarine with the intention of attacking the Suez Canal; belonging to militant group Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis; planning terrorist operations; firing missiles and rockets at ships; and targeting military property and buildings.
Sara Said, the sister of a defendant, said her brother and two of his friends were also accused of attempting to assassinate the Minister of Interior.
“The accusations are very imaginative,” she said. “There is no way they could have done any of this.”
The nine defendants, who are not associated with each other, were all arrested separately and at different times. Said’s brother, 19-year-old Abdel Rahman, was arrested with two friends at a travel agency in 6th of October City. Others were arrested from their homes and through enforced disappearances between November 2013 until last April.
According to Amnesty International, enforced disappearances, a phenomenon involving plain clothed state security forces arresting civilians, have become more common in the past year. Through this technique the state keeps civilians in secret prisons preventing disclosure of their whereabouts to families and lawyers, the human rights group said in a statement in May. Enforced disappearances also facilitate torture, Amnesty added, as security forces are not subject to supervision from civilian organisations or NGOs.
“We spent 45 days not having any idea where my brother was,” said Said. “We saw him for the first time 75 days after his arrest.”
She added that her family was not allowed to see Abdel Rahman in court on Tuesday. She also added that detainees’ families are only allowed to see them in courts as prison visits are prohibited.
Sara Sherif, a member of the No Military Trials campaign said: “Military trials are by default unjust. You cannot trust a military court for proper investigations as the entire court is military personnel, including the judge. All are appointed by the Minister of Defence and must listen to orders.”
The detained have been moved from Al-Azouly to Scorpion prison, two of the most notorious prisons in Egypt, where torture by electric shock, burns, and other forms of ill-treatment is common.