The Supreme State Security Prosecution in Egypt continued its interrogation of suspects accused of forming a terrorist cell known as the Nasr City Cell.
Al-Hayat learned that the Homeland Security inquiries — the findings of which were submitted to prosecutors — indicate that former Egyptian army officer Tareq Abulazem is the group leader. Abulazem was incarcerated at the beginning of the last decade on charges of joining the Iranian militant group Jundallah.
The inquiries’ reports showed that officer Rami Ahmad Mohammad al-Mallah — who recently resigned from the army — provided the group with logistical support and training, and that jihadist leader Adel Awad Shehto is accused of funding the group.
Homeland Security reportedly accused the cell of “joining a group aiming to overthrow the regime and assassinate public figures who refused to enforce Islamic Shariah law, and of possessing weapons and explosives.”
Security authorities separately accused Shehto of “planning to assassinate Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi.”
The Supreme State Security Prosecution listened in three hearing sessions yesterday [Nov. 1] to the statements of the following eight suspects: Abulazem, Shehto, Mallah, Nabil Abdel Fattah (a member of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad [EIJ] group who was arrested when police entered an apartment in New Cairo and a building in Nasr City at the same time), Bassam al-Sayyed and his brother Haitham (who are both accused of shooting police and possessing a grenade and explosive materials in a car that they were driving between Tanta and Kafr El-Sheikh. Bassam is also member of EIJ), Tarek Yehia Halil (an EIJ member who was arrested in the apartment in New Cairo) and Tunisian Mohammed Saeed (also arrested in the apartment in New Cairo).
According to their lawyers, the eight suspects denied the charges and stressed that they have nothing to do with any violence and have never intended to carry out any violent act.
Majdi Salem, the lawyer for Abulazem, Shehto and Halil, said that “It has been proven by the prosecution inquiries that Abulazem suffered from mental and physical torture, including electric shocks.”
The prosecutors did not confront the suspects with the seized materials, and hearing sessions focused on the suspects’ ideologies and jihadist beliefs and whether they are connected to one another.
Shehto denied knowing any of the suspects and affirmed that he is a supporter of Morsi, since he promised to enforce Shariah law.
He also mentioned that the money found at his place was from the Interior Ministry as compensation for his years of detention and denied charges of intending to travel to Libya.
Abulazem asserted that he had saved the funds seized in his possession (40,000 Egyptian pounds [$10,000] and less than 1,000 euros [$1,285]) to purchase a car.