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Egypt Court Sentences Islamic Militants to Jail in Anti-Government Plot - 2002-09-09

A military court in Egypt has sentenced 51 Islamic militants to up to 15 years in prison for plotting to overthrow the government.

The men were convicted by a military court of forming a group that planned to attack government institutions and assassinate Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and other public figures.

The prosecution also charged that the men were involved in collecting money for Islamic radical groups that would in return teach the men how to commit terrorist acts.

In all, 94 men were tried and 43 were acquitted.

Defense attorneys said their clients were first accused of raising funds for Muslim fighters and that the more serious assassination charges were added only after the September 11 attacks in Washington and New York. The defendants said they did not belong to any group.

Most of those convicted are Egyptians, but there were several with foreign or dual nationality, including three from Russia and one from Yemen. One defendant had both Egyptian and American nationality, and another was a dual national of both Egypt and Canada.

Human rights groups in Egypt have condemned sending civilians before military courts where they have no right to appeal.