By Heba Fahmy and Heba Afify
CAIRO: The Rod El Farag Misdemenor Court on Thursday released eight protestors arrested earlier this week in Shubra and postponed the case to Jan. 13.
Ahmed Ragheb, director of the Hisham Mubarak Law Center, said that the lawyers did not expect the court’s “brave decision” to release the activists and that the defense team will do everything in its power to acquit the defendants.
“All of them are facing false charges and their rights have been violated,” said Ragheb.
The defense lawyers, affiliated with various human rights groups, requested that the defendants be examined by forensic doctors.
“We also filed a civil claim against the Ministry of Interior accusing security forces of using excessive force with the defendants, who are the real victims,” Ragheb told Daily News Egypt.
The eight Muslim protesters were initially detained during a Monday protest in Shubra that condemned the recent New Year’s Eve bombing in front of Al-Qeddesine Church (Church of the Two Saints) in Alexandria.
The defendants are accused of a long list of charges: participating in a gathering of more than five people, inciting sectarianism, beating judiciary arrest officers, vandalism of public property, injuring 15 security force officers and four policemen, and vandalizing nine private vehicles, 11 vans, two microbuses, and two police pick-up trucks.
A small group of 20 protestors held a sit in in-front of the court on Thursday chanting anti government slogans and demanding the release of the detainees during the trial.
“These charges are not true; I was in the protest and I saw that they (the defendants) didn’t want any trouble with the security forces,” member of Youth for Justice and Freedom Movement, Khaled El Sayed, told Daily News Egypt, “on the contrary, security forces are the ones who beat them and some of them were injured.”
“All the videos posted of the protest posted on [the internet] prove that,” El Sayed added.
The protestors distributed a statement saying that security forces separated the Muslims and the Copts during the demonstration in Shubra and allowed the Copts and women, Muslim and Copt to leave while detaining the eight Muslim defendants.
“As if security forces want to say that any attempt of unity between Muslims and Copts will be received with jail as long as it’s against the government’s shortcomings and its discrimination against the Copts,” the statement read.
“When Muslims and Christians join each other to demand their rights, this is dangerous for the regime,” Karima El Hefnawy, member of the Kefaya Movement for Change, said. “They want the Christians to turn to the church like they used to.”
Esraa Abdel Fatah, activist, says that the regime did the same thing last year as she was arrested among other activists who were showing their solidarity with the victims of the Nagaa Hamady massacre which resulted in the death of eight Copts and one Muslim.
“We will not let the government blame eight people for the failure of the state security,” said Abdel Fatah.