CAIRO: The first session in a case filed against a former army general who said “protesters should be burnt in Hitler’s incinerators” will be held on Feb. 1, rights groups said.
The statement made earlier by retired Major General Abdel-Moniem Kato, who advises the military, brought wide condemnation locally and internationally.
The Association of Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE) and the Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) are spearheading the legal case against him.
Over 4,000 have signed their names in support of taking the case to court. But the groups decided to narrow down the number of plaintiffs.
“We filed the case in the names of only four people; student Mohamed Taher, blogger Wael Abbas and lawyers Gamal Eid and Emad Mubarak, to avoid vindictive actions that could be taken against [signatories],” AFTE said in a statement.
AFTE said it waited to no avail for the Supreme Council of Armed Forced (SCAF) to hold Kato accountable for his statements but they didn’t.
SCAF indirectly addressed the issue in its 93rd statement, by distancing itself from any unofficial statements. While it said that it only uses official changes including its Facebook Page, the SCAF didn’t specify who made the statements it referred to.
Former chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency and presidential hopeful Mohamed ElBaradie said people who make such statements “should be in prison, not in power” in reference to Kato.
Also in a message on Twitter, Hannah Rosenthal, the US special envoy against anti-Semitism, said Kato’s "anti-Semitic comments are outrageous, offensive and clearly unacceptable."
ANHRI said the comments "incite hatred and justify violence against citizens."
In reference to the crackdown on the cabinet sit-in on Dec. 16 and the ensuing protests and clashes, Kato said demonstrators are influenced by foreign hands and want to damage the relation between army and the people.
A week later the retired general told independent daily Al-Shorouk, “This is a malicious campaign and intellectual terrorism that no one approves.”
He was referring to the legal action taken against him.
He claimed that he was not referring to the revolutionaries, but to those who were burning the country’s institutes. “No human rights organizations would approve this criminal act,” he said.