Egypt’s ruling military council –or junta — has detained blogger and activists Alaa Abd El Fattah for 15 days on charges of inciting deadly violence between the military and Coptic Christians in Maspero in Cairo earlier this month. On Sunday Abd El Fattah had refused to be interrogated by a military prosecutor. His sister, activist Mona Seif, said that he had previously been jailed in 2006 under deposed president Hosni Mubarak’s regime:
“He was arrested because the military are trying to find someone else to blame for the massacre that happened on the ninth of October.”
“The truth is that we are actually accusing the military of causing the deaths of at least 27 people and the wounds of more than 100 peaceful protesters.”
Another activist, Bahaa Saber, was to be interrogated with Abd El Fattah and was allowed to post bail.
Protesters have said that the military used “excessive force,” including firing live ammunition and driving military vehicles directly into demonstrators in October; the military has blamed the violence on “foreign agitators.”
In his last public piece of writing prior to his detainment, Abd El Fattah wrote in the independent daily Al Shorouk about the clashes in Maspero and about his efforts to gain access to autopsy reports:
He also spent this time mourning the death of Mina Daniel, the Coptic activist who was run over by military police during the clashes.
“When will the SCAF understand that many revolutionaries are afraid of their tender loving mothers more than they fear death or torture,” Abdel Fattah wrote in Al-Shorouk.
While en route to the military prosecutor’s office on Sunday, Abd El Fattah had said to Reuters that:
“They [the military] committed a massacre, a horrible crime and now they are working on framing someone else for it. This whole situation is distorted.”
“Instead of launching a proper investigation, they are sending activists to trial for saying the plain truth and that is that the army committed a crime in cold blood,” he said, adding the military was using the “incitement” card to shift the blame away from its own officers.
Abd El Fattah and Saber will likely face military trials, according to Amnesty International. Saber could be charged with “verbal incitement” and videos are said to show Abd El Fattah throwing rocks; the two are among 28 others who have been detained on charges of attacking soldiers. Said Saber about the military prosecutors’ summoning of him and Abd El Fattah:
“It was humiliating and unacceptable. This is an unjust escalation by the military. I will not be silenced nor intimidated, and I don’t think people will be silent either.”
Saber questioned the military’s investigating the October 9 clashes, given its role in the violence. Activists say that over 12,000 people have tired by a military court since Mubarak’s ouster on February 18. The use of military courts to try civilians is just one reason that many have raised doubts about whether the ruling military council, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, is truly committed to transforming Egypt into a democracy.
The military was “not immediately available for comment” and has “denied that soldiers killed any demonstrators and blamed a vague plot by ‘enemies of the people.’”
“The regime that arrested Alaa in 2006 is the same regime that is arresting him 2011, it has not yet fallen.”
As Ghada Shahbender states:
Activists are rallying outside Abd El Fattah’s prison cell.
Mubarak’s Trial Postponed
The next session of the Mubarak trial has been postponed until December 28, in the wake of calls to appoint a new presiding judge to replace Ahmed Refax. Refax had “defended the court’s integrity and lashed out at critics.” Lawyers representing families of victims of Mubarak’s regime have demanded that the judge be replaced.
Previous Care2 Coverage
Photo of Alaa Abd El Fattah by personaldemocracy