[JURIST] A leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood [party website; FAS backgrounder], who is standing before a military trial in Egypt on money laundering and terror charges, Monday denounced the proceedings against him as a "farce." Deputy guide for the Brotherhood Khairat al-Shatir [BBC report] was among those Muslim Brotherhood members first arrested in a raid [BBC report] last December. They were initially acquitted of all charges in January in a criminal court in Cairo, but were rearrested shortly after their release. Egyptian President Hosny Mubarak [official profile] ordered the transfer of the cases to a military court [JURIST report] and Egypt's Supreme Administrative Court ruled in May that the military trial could proceed [JURIST report], reversing a lower court rejection [JURIST report] of the military trial. El-Shatir denied the charges, saying that they were politically motivated.
The Muslim Brotherhood is the largest opposition party in Egypt [JURIST news archive]. Its members run officially as independents because the Muslim Brotherhood has been banned in Egypt since 1954. Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] has criticized [press release] Egypt for repressing the group in a manner that "flouts fundamental human rights and freedoms." Human Rights Watch estimates that 223 members of the Muslim Brotherhood are currently detained for "attempting to exercise their rights to freedom of association and expression." The Egyptian government accuses the organization of trying to create an Islamic theocracy through violence. AP has more.