CAIRO: The videotaped confession of Ibrahim Azab was made after he was tortured by police, according to Azab’s lawyer Ahmed Helmy, on his personal Twitter account Sunday.
Azab, a student at the Faculty of Pharmacy in Mansoura University, was arrested on March 6 over allegations of manufacturing explosive devices and targeting ships crossing the Suez Canal.
On Feb. 26, North Cairo Criminal Court ordered the death penalty for 26 defendants in absentia, including Azab over the said charges. However, the court adjourned the trial to March 19 in order to refer the case to the Grand Mufti who, according to Islamic Sharia and Egyptian law, must validate all death sentences.
Azab and his co-defendants faced charges including forming a terrorist cell that manufactured missiles and targeted security properties.
In Sep. 2009, security forces arrested Azab over charges of joining a protest that condemned the Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip, according to a statement from Azab’s brother Abdel Rahman on dakahliaikhwan.com.
The brother said that Ibrahim Azab, along with many others, was arrested on charges of “collecting data” in solidarity with the people in Gaza. However, the case was known in media as the “Suez Cell” trial.
In Sep. 2009, he was detained and released over the same charges three times, until he was finally released due to lack of incriminating evidence following the January 25 Revolution, said Azab’s lawyer Ahmed Helmy on his Twitter account.
In a three-minute video clip that was published by the Ministry of Interior on March 8 on YouTube, Azab was shown, along with other detainees, confessing his possession of two automatic rifles (shown in separate shots) that he allegedly used in a pro-Muslim Brotherhood protest on the Friday following the dispersal of the Rabaa al-Adaweya sit-in.
“Joining pro-Muslim Brotherhood protests was not enough so my colleagues and I were engaged in targeting security forces through explosive devices,” said Azab in his confession.
However, in light of Helmy’s allegations of torture, Azab appears to have sustained an injury on his face, and the discussion on the YouTube confession indicates that there are questions with regards the legitimacy of the confession.
One user (unser name THELAELAHELLA ALLAH) states that “the boys have clearly been beaten to death, and they have paper written up for them [to read from] and claim that it’s a confession.”
However, another user (osman soliman) said, “To those who are speaking of torture, nobody is being tortured… this is the Muslim Brotherhood’s nature, as soon as they are caught they immediately confess, and the best example is their leadership.”
Furthermore, it is unclear whether any of the 25 remaining men who were arrested was with Azab during his previous arrests.