CAIRO: Egypt’s Military Prosecutor decided Sunday to detain activist Alaa Abdel Fattah for 15 days pending investigations on charges of inciting violence during the Oct. 9 Maspero clashes. Activist Bahaa Saber was released in the same case.
Abdel Fattah and Saber both refused to be questioned by the military prosecution, since they believe that the military establishment is party to the crime they’re probing and hence should not be investigating the Maspero incidents in the first place.
In addition to inciting violence, both are accused of illegal gathering, seizing military equipment, and vandalizing military property.
Saber, however, was released without bail, according to Executive Director of Arabic Network of Human Rights Information (ANHRI) Gamal Eid.
"Abdel Fattah rejected the interrogation in a case where the military is accused of committing a massacre when their APCs ran over peaceful protesters in front of Maspero on Oct. 9," lawyer Ahmed Seif Al-Islam, also Abdel Fattah’s father and former director of the Hisham Mubarak Law Center, told Al-Jazeera Mubasher Misr in a telephone interview.
"He was given 15 days pending investigations as a punishment for refusing to answer the questions of the military prosecution," Seif added.
The defense team, according to Seif, presented three CDs including evidence of incitement by state television against protesters. They also accused the Head of the Central Military District and the Head of the Military Police of killing protesters and the ruling Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) of obstructing justice by clearing Maspero of all evidence that can prove the involvement of the military police in the killing of 27 people.
"The military judiciary is afraid that Abdel Fattah’s attitude will set a trend among civilians that will undermine military trials," Seif explained, adding that the defense team will appeal the prosecution’s decision.
"We will file a compliant before the Prosecutor General demanding investigations into the military’s violations starting from the Battle of the Camel during the uprising [on Feb. 2] until the Maspero clashes," he said.
According to Al-Nadeem Center for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Torture, the list of suspects to be questioned on the same charges with regards to the Maspero violence, includes Mina Danial, a peaceful protester whose death by gunshot during the Maspero clashes was widely publicized; Priest Filopateer who had led the Maspero march; in addition to political movements like April 6, Youth for Freedom and Justice, and the Maspero Coptic Youth Union.
Lawyer Roda Ahmed from ANHRI told Daily News Egypt that the military prosecution’s decision is more like a “slap on the wrist” for Abdel Fattah, whose attitude they deem unacceptable.
"The situation will be clearer when Abdel Fattah appears during the second interrogation after 15 days," she said.
Both Abdel-Fattah and Saber were arrested in 2006 for their activism under the Mubarak regime.