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Brotherhood officials in Egypt accused of torture

CAIRO — Two Muslim Brotherhood officials in the northern Egyptian city of Damanhour have been ordered to stand trial for allegedly kidnapping and torturing three men at the group’s headquarters there, according to the city prosecutor’s office.

A lawyer for the three alleged victims, Mohammed Bahnasy, confirmed the referral Sunday and said a date for the trial could be announced this week. The referral was made Saturday, but the two Brotherhood officials have not yet been detained, he said.

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The accusations against the two — Mustafa el-Khouli and Mohammed Abdel-Radi — stem from November protests that swept much of the country, including Damanhour in the Nile Delta. The protests followed President Mohammed Morsi’s decrees, which have since been rescinded, giving himself near absolute powers.

Brotherhood spokesman Ahmed Aref said he had heard reports of the referral but could not confirm it.

Bahnasy said two of the three men allegedly kidnapped and tortured were 17 and 19.

The third was 21. He said the three were detained separately for up to five hours during clashes between supporters and opponents of Morsi at Damanhour’s main square on Nov. 24.

The referral followed a two-day sit-in by the three and their supporters outside the city’s prosecution office to protest against what they perceived as stalling over referring the case to trial.

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