Egypt Puts Nasser Kin and 17 Others on Trial
By ALAN COWELL, SPECIAL TO THE NEW YORK TIMES Published: November 2, 1988
LEAD: To the chanting of anti-Israeli slogans, 20 Egyptians, including members of the late President Gamal Abdel Nasser’s family, went on trial here today on charges of assassinating Israeli diplomats, wounding others and attacking United States Embassy officials.
To the chanting of anti-Israeli slogans, 20 Egyptians, including members of the late President Gamal Abdel Nasser’s family, went on trial here today on charges of assassinating Israeli diplomats, wounding others and attacking United States Embassy officials.
The hearings started without the presence of Khaled Abdel Nasser, one of Nasser’s sons, who is in exile in Yugoslavia and who is accused of helping finance the group, called Egypt’s Revolution. A cousin of President Nasser, Gamal Shawki Abdel Nasser, accused of belonging to the group, is also believed to be in exile.
State prosecutors accuse the organization of seeking both the overthrow of the Cairo Government and the destruction of Egypt’s peace with Israel. The prosecutors have demanded the death sentence for 11 of the accused, including Khaled Nasser, and lesser penalties for nine others, including Gamal Shawki Abdel Nasser.
The indictment of the son of a national hero and emblem of Arab nationalism has stirred deep passions among opposition groups.
Critics of the Government have questioned why such a figure should be treated as a criminal for purported involvement in attacks on Israelis when Israeli soldiers are killing Palestinians in a 10-month uprising.
The indictment has also renewed opposition criticism of the 1979 treaty that made Egypt the only Arab country to have made peace with Israel.
The hearings started with the accused leader of Egypt’s Revolution, Mahmoud Nureddin Soliman, holding an impromptu discussion from a steel cage in the courtroom.
The 17 defendants – both Nasser family members and a third person were absent – were held in steel cages, one of them containing only Ahmed Nureddin, an accused conspirator said to have denounced the others to the American Embassy in 1987.
Mahmoud Nureddin Soliman, a 47-year-old former intelligence officer and diplomat, reaffirmed the group’s opposition to the peace accord.
He said the group had acted only against agents of the American Central Intelligence Agency and Israel’s secret service, Mossad, and denied the charges against Nasser’s son.
They are accused of attacking and slightly wounding two American Embassy staff members, Dennis Williams and John Hucke, in May 1987 and of killing two Israelis, Albert Atraghji in August 1985 and Etti Tal-or in March 1986. They are also accused of wounding a third Israeli, Zvi Kadar, in 1984.
The trial was adjourned until Wednesday.
Correction: November 3, 1988, Thursday, Late City Final Edition
A headline in some editions yesterday about a trial arising from attacks on Israeli and American diplomats in Egypt misstated the number of defendants. In addition to two relatives of former President Gamal Abdel Nasser, 18 people are charged.