CAIRO: Eight civilians detained in the aftermath of the storming of the Israeli embassy early September were handed six-month suspended sentences by a military court Monday, lawyer Ragia Omran told Daily News Egypt.
"The suspended sentences were punishment for the first charge, which is using violence against military officers. But the eight detainees were found innocent of charges of inciting violence in front of the embassy," Omran said.
Military police randomly arrested tens of passersby near the Israeli embassy one day after clashes between security forces and protesters, who were then referred to a military court. Other detainees were referred to the state security emergency court.
The protesters were angered by the lack of official response to the killing of six Egyptian security personnel by Israeli Defense Forces near the Sinai border in August.
Israel apologized officially for the killings on October 12, according reports in Egypt’s state-owned press.
The military court’s decision comes on the heels of the detention for 15 days of activist Alaa Abdel Fattah pending investigations on charges of inciting violence during the Oct. 9 Maspero clashes.
Activist Bahaa Saber, who was facing the same charges, was released.
Abdel Fattah and Saber both refused to be questioned by the military prosecution, since they believe that the military establishment is party to the crime they’re probing and hence should not be investigating the Maspero incidents in the first place.
Meanwhile, 28 Coptic protesters arrested during the Maspero violence were referred to military prosecution last week and detained for 15 days pending investigations. They will be interrogated on Nov. 3.
Abdel Fattah’s detention outraged opponents of military trials for civilians who slammed the military’s continued crackdown on activists by referring them to military trials on mostly trumped up charges.
On a related note, unconfirmed reports have claimed that activist Ali Mohammed Younis, said to belong to the April 6 Youth Movement, was arrested in Beheira governorate while hanging posters condemning military trials.
However April 6 denies the activist belongs to the group.
"The alleged activist does not belong to the movement’s chapter in Beheira, we received no information regarding this issue," the movement told Daily News Egypt in response to a question posted on Twitter.
Meanwhile, unconfirmed media reports said that reporter at Sout Al-Omma daily Mahmoud El-Dab’ei was summoned by the military prosecution for publishing an article highlighting the alleged illegal tenure in Al-Azhar University of the son of General Mamdouh Shahin, a member of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.
El-Dab’ei was not available for comment because he was in Saudi Arabia on Hajj pilgrimage.