Army says Mubarak under house arrest, to investigate torture reports

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CAIRO: The Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) denied in its 29th communiqué issued on Monday rumors that ousted president Hosni Mubarak fled to Saudi Arabia and promised to reinvestigate the detention of Mohamed Adel, who was arrested by the army on Jan. 28.

“Someone has just called to tell me that’s Mohamed’s case will be reinvestigated, promising a quick release,” a jubilant Nariman Ahmed, Adel’s mother, told Daily News Egypt.

"I do not know who this person is; all what I know is that he is a representative from SCAF. Our lawyer will definitely follow up with the case."

The military junta also promised to "take all necessary measures to check the accuracy of allegations by female protesters" who claimed they were subject to virginity tests by military doctors after they were arrested by the army on March 9.

“Investigating one case of detention in addition to allegations by female protesters are not enough; we demand the halt of all military trials for civilians, putting whoever responsible for these torture allegations on trial, and an official apology from the SCAF,” said lawyer and head of Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) Gamal Eid.

“We definitely support such a step but we see it as incomplete,” he added.

Meanwhile, the director of moral affairs in the armed forces, General Ismail Etman called on the media not to spread rumors, especially those that divide the army and the people, during a press conference held on Monday.

“We never cover up any violations on behalf of the army, those responsible must be prosecuted,” Etman said.

Etman described the events of March 9 when the military police forcibly dispersed the protesters camped out in Tahrir Square, detaining 170. He said a group of people attacked the protesters in the square and the army did not intervene at first.

However, after it got violent the army intervened to separate the protesters, when they found Molotov cocktails, drugs, swords and other weapons inside the protesters’ tents. He claimed that men and women with no official relations were staying together in the same tents.

Detainees, according to Etman, were divided into three groups, two groups have been released while the third group was tried at military courts and are currently serving their sentences in civilian prisons.

He refused to respond to reports about the army torturing protesters, stressing that if any violations occurred, the army would be capable of punishing those responsible.

"No matter what happens, whoever was detained has the full right to be tried before a civilian court and to find someone to defend him," Eid said. "Egypt’s youth did not revolt against oppression to be oppressed and tortured by the military junta this time."

Etman denied accusations that the army used force to disperse protests at the faculty of mass communications at Cairo University or Tahrir square.

Etman explained that a group of mass communications students and professors prevented the dean, Sami Abdel-Aziz, and other professors from leaving the faculty, following a board meeting and prevented them from receiving any food or water. This forced the dean and professors to appeal to the army to help them and that is why the army intervened.

“Only 20 soldiers ended the sit-in without using any weapons and none of the students or professors were detained,” Etman said.

Rights groups issued a statement earlier condemning the army’s violent crackdown on Cairo University’s mass communication students’ protest.

"Egypt’s students are part of the January 25 Revolution which brought together many sectors of the society to claim their freedom and get rid of tools of repression that restricted their freedoms for decades," the statement issued by the rights groups read.

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