CAIRO: Hundreds marched Monday from downtown Cairo to support activist Alaa Abdel Fattah, detained for 15 days pending investigation by the military prosecution.
His supporters plan another solidarity March Wednesday that will end in front of Tora prison, where he is currently detained.
Abdel Fattah faces charges of inciting violence during the Maspero clashes between army forces and Coptic protesters.
On Oct. 30 he refused to be interrogated by the military prosecution because he is a civilian and since he believes 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.
Abdel Fattah’s mother, university professor Laila Soueif, also a prominent activist and member of March 9 Movement for Universities’ Independence, has started an open-ended hunger strike until her son is released to draw attention to her his case and that of 12,000 civilians who have been tried in military courts since a popular revolt toppled the Mubarak regime in February.
"I decided to go on hunger strike after I realized fully that the detention decision is a punishment for my son for his political activities, which is the same attitude of state security forces during the Mubarak era," Soueif said in a statement she released and published through the No to Military Trials for Civilians campaign.
"I refuse military trials for civilians and refuse the fact that the military prosecution is investigating the Maspero events not only because of the army’s involvement, but also because the ruling military council declared its biased stance, deciding beforehand that the army is innocent of any crime," she added.
Soueif wrote Saturday an open letter to the head of military judiciary Adel El-Morsy in which she questioned the trumped-up charges against her son, which include accusations of stealing army weapons, vandalizing army property and attacking army personnel.
"Does the head of the military judiciary really believe these accusations?" Soueif said questioning the seriousness of the charges and the way her son was summoned for questioning by the prosecution.
“If the prosecution believed that Alaa had stolen army weapons, then wouldn’t the military police have at least searched his home to locate the alleged stolen weapons?” Soueif asked, adding that her son was served with a summons to the military prosecution two weeks after the incident, and simply asked to come in a week later because he was abroad on the initial interrogation date.
The activist has been giving his family letters to post on his blog manalaa.net. In his latest contribution, he urged activists and youth to fill his place in the various initiatives he is involved in, including supporting revolutionary youth in elections, an initiative to compile Egyptians’ aspirations for the new constitution, and setting up a public-owned TV station, among others.
“The best way to express solidarity with a political prisoner is to prove that he’s not important in the first place, and that there are millions who are better and more valuable than him,” he wrote.