CAIRO: A Cairo court released on Thursday 27 detainees involved in the Maspero violence case, pending investigations, barring prominent activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah.
The court had accepted an appeal to revoke last Tuesday’s decision by the prosecution to extend their detention for 15 days.
Lawyers said since Abdel-Fattah had already filed appeals which were all rejected, legally he has no right to file another appeal before 30 days.
Since the other 27 detainees who were set free had never filed any appeals, their latest request was accepted, lawyers explained.
The judge investigating the case began Tuesday interrogating defendants implicated in the Maspero violence between Coptic protesters and army forces on Oct. 9.
Abdel-Fattah’s lawyers said charges of illegal assembly and inciting violence were dropped, while the accusation of stealing army weapons was still in place. Abdel-Fattah was initially accused of illegal assembly, inciting violence and stealing weapons to execute a terrorist plan.
His lawyers had requested the submission as evidence of a recording of military council generals stating on television that the army forces were unarmed during the clashes.
On Oct. 9, army forces violently dispersed a mainly Coptic protest, leaving 27 dead and hundreds injured.
Prosecutor General Abdel Meguid Mahmoud transferred Monday the investigation from the State Security Prosecution to an independent investigations judge upon the request of the defendants’ lawyers.
The case was first investigated by the military prosecution, but was later referred to State Security Prosecution upon orders from the ruling military council.
As a civilian Abdel-Fattah had refused to be interrogated by the military prosecution, citing conflict of interest since he believed that the military is party to the crime it is probing.