CAIRO: Seventeen human rights organizations and Amnesty International condemned on Monday a decision by military prosecution to detain activist Alaa Abdel Fattah for 15 days pending investigation on charges of inciting violence during the Oct. 9 clashes between protesters and army forces.
"We consider the detention decision a personal revenge from one of the most outspoken and well-known activists among the Jan. 25 revolutionaries who rejected the interrogation, first because he used his right as a civilian not to be questioned by military prosecution and second as the military establishment is party to the crime they’re probing and hence should not be investigating the Maspero incidents in the first place," the rights organizations said in a statement released Monday.
"Abdel Fattah rejected the interrogation so he was punished by being detained for 15 days in an attempt to terrorize the revolution’s youth as the interrogation records listed the April 6 movement, Youth for Freedom and Justice, and Maspero Coptic Youth Union as suspects in the case," the groups said in a statement titled "On Mubarak’s footsteps, detaining an activist to hide a massacre."
Amnesty International described Abdel Fattah’s summoning by the military prosecution as "a warning that Egypt’s armed forces are cracking down on criticism, including of their handling of the Maspero violence."
"The military justice system should never be used to investigate or prosecute civilians. Military courts are fundamentally unfair, as they deprive defendants of basic fair trial guarantees," Amnesty said.
"In Egypt, military courts effectively deny defendants the right to appeal, limiting it to legal points without any review of the facts and evidence of the case," the international human rights organization added.
The organizations, including the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), the Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), Al-Nadeem Center for the Rehabilitation of Torture Victims, and Egyptians Against Religious Discrimination, said that they will take all necessary democratic, peaceful and legal steps to hold anyone who violates human rights in Egypt accountable.