Amnesty calls on Egypt to allow trial monitoring

Amnesty International has called on Egypt's president to allow independent monitoring of a trial involving 40 members of the country's strongest opposition movement, the rights group announced Friday. The organization said it sent a letter to President Hosni Mubarak with its demands after legal observers from Amnesty and other human rights groups were prevented from entering the court during two previous hearings. The trial, which resumes Sunday, is part of an ongoing government crackdown against the Muslim Brotherhood, whose members hold almost 20 percent of the seats in the country's parliament and pose the most significant challenge to Mubarak's regime. The 40 Brotherhood members, which include some top leaders, are on trial in a military court on terrorism and money laundering charges. Civilian courts have twice ordered the release of several of the defendants, but the Interior Ministry has appealed those rulings.