CAIRO: Prosecutor General Abdel Meguid Mahmoud announced on Saturday that 18 people detained in the Delta town of Mahalla during demonstrations last week would be released.
Lawyers and activists from the Kefaya movement had presented a complaint to the Prosecutor General about detentions both in Mahalla and elsewhere in Egypt.
The April 6 demonstrations protesting rising food prices, corruption and police torture planned in Cairo were aborted after an intense security mobilization throughout the city.
Some 62 people were arrested during a crackdown targeting opposition activists including Kefaya leader Georges Ishaq, who was released Friday on LE 10,000 bail pending trial for charges of conspiring with others to incite protest with the intention of committing crimes against individuals and public property, and the use of violence and force to prevent the public authorities in the performance of their work.
Human Rights Watch last week issued a statement criticizing security forces use of excessive and lethal force against protestors.
Speaking in a press conference held in the high court building after the meeting with the Prosecutor General, lawyer Sayyed Fathy said that two complaints had been filed.
The first complaint concerned the mistreatment of detainees, the use of force by security bodies and the absence of legal guarantees during the investigations, Fathy explained.
The Prosecutor General promised that 18 detainees currently being held in Mahalla would be released, and that procedural guarantees would be respected during the remaining investigations.
The second complaint concerned a group of 30 doctors and academics who had attempted to enter Mahalla on Friday in a solidarity mission with the victims of police violence.
They were detained at a police checkpoint 20 km outside the town for four hours and prevented from either entering Mahalla or returning to Cairo.
The police confiscated the car keys of one of the group members.
University professor Laila Soueif, who was part of the delegation, said that the public prosecutor had promised a full investigation into the events.
Lawyer Ahmed Hassan condemned the treatment of detainees in Mahalla.
More than 200 people have been accused of criminal damage without any evidence to support the charges, Hassan said.
Some of the people who were arrested on the April 6 were not brought before the public prosecution office until April 8, which is in violation of the requirement that detainees be presented to the public prosecution office within 24 hours.
We want all charges against detainees to be dropped because of the serious irregularities in these investigations, he continued.
After the press conference some 60 protestors began chanting slogans such as Hosni Mubarak is useless and we want a popular revolution against the party of thugs.
Plain-clothed members of security bodies prevented the protestors from taking the demonstration to the street outside.