By Marwa Al-A’asar
CAIRO: The military police referred three artists to the military prosecution Thursday ahead of planned mass protests on Friday for criticizing the ruling military council, lawyer Ghada Shahbandar told Daily News Egypt.
The three were first arrested at about 11 am by the police while sticking up posters near the Journalists’ Syndicate in downtown Cairo. They were then handed over to the military police for questioning, said Shahbandar, a representative of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR).
“They faced no charges until I left the military police premises to wait for them at the prosecution building in Nasr City,” she said.
The three are graffiti artist Mohamed Fahmy, who goes by Ganzeer on Twitter, filmmaker Aida El-Kashef and musician Abdel Rahman Amin (NadimX).
No lawyer was allowed to attend the interrogation, but when Shahbandar later managed to meet them they said that they were treated well.
The poster in question showed a head with two small wings and a mask covering the eyes and an object gagging the mouth. The following words accompanied the image: “New…The freedom mask. Greetings from the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to the beloved people. Now available in the market for an unlimited time.”
“The poster criticized the political performance of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) not their military capacity,” Shahbandar argued.
“The EOHR is highly concerned over such detentions, which [violate] freedom of expression,” Shahbandar said.
In a related story, April 6 Youth Movement activist Ibrahim Abed was reportedly arrested Wednesday night in Nasr City while distributing leaflets encouraging people to join the Friday protest in Tahrir Square, dubbed the “Second Rage Revolution.”
However, the movement’s spokesman Mohamed Adel said both the military prosecution and the military police said he was not on their list of detainees.
“Abed told us over the phone that he was arrested by the military police. We are now trying to reach anybody at Egyptian intelligence where he might be,” Adel told DNE.
The group said in a statement Wednesday that the detention of Abed brings Egyptians back to the security measures taken during the era of ousted president Hosni Mubarak.
“The pursuit of activists as they promote the revival of the [January 25] Revolution is a dangerous indicator of the return of the security violations against them,” Adel said.
April 6 held a protest Thursday outside the defense ministry in Kobry El-Qobba demanding the immediate release of Abed.
In Suez, seven activists were reportedly arrested also on Thursday during a planning meeting for the Friday protest in the governorate, director of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information Gamal Eid told DNE.
“We have no confirmed details yet about their location. But some said they saw them in a truck near the old building of the [disbanded] state security investigations,” he said.
Suez residents are planning a demonstration on the main El-Arabein street following Friday prayers in coordination with the Cairo protest.
Suez witnessed the first death of a citizen shot by the police on Jan. 25.
No further details were available about the destiny of the detainees until time of press.
Meanwhile, the SCAF reiterated in statement 58 on its official Facebook page the right of Egyptians to hold peaceful protests, saying no single bullet was ever fired at a citizen by the army.
The SCAF warned against “suspicious elements” that may provoke divisions between the people and the military and hence announced that it will not deploy any forces in the areas where protests are planned in order to avoid such risks.
Some online activists announced on Twitter that protesters will start flocking to Tahrir in the early hours of Friday and form popular committees to safeguard the area.