Egypt alleged cult members to be tried in May

Reuters/March 25, 1999

CAIRO - Egypt has set the date for the trial of an alleged cult leader accused of advocating illegal drug use and wife-swapping, court sources said on Thursday.

They said Mohammed Ibrahim Mahfouz, who claimed to be a prophet, and 18 of his followers would be tried at a misdemeanour court in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria on May 3.

Another follower, a teenager, will be tried in a juvenile court on May 9.

They were arrested in December for holding meetings that allegedly encouraged the prohibition of Moslem pilgrimage and "obscene activities" including illegal drug use and sleeping with the wives of cult members, the sources said.

Newspapers reported that 63-year-old Mahfouz, a former security guard, spread his ideas through meetings, books and tapes. He was arrested during one of his sessions.

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