CAIRO: An Investigating judge released without bail Sunday three activists summoned as part of investigations in December clashes that left 19 dead and hundreds injured.
Activist Nawara Negm, Imam of Omar Makram Mosque Shiekh Mazhar Shahin, and spokesman of April 6 Youth Movement Democratic Front Tarek El-Khouly were summoned last week for an interrogation in a complaint filed against them.
"According to the complaint, Negm participated with Shahin and El-Khouly in planning for the clashes inside Omar Makram Mosque by inciting the protesters to attack army forces," lawyer Malek Adly told Daily News Egypt Sunday.
"The interrogation was based on inference, as the judge has no evidence to prove these allegations and hence cannot accuse the summoned individuals with any charges. Thus the judge [was only] asking the activists about the complaint," Adly explained.
Abdel Aziz Fahmy, the man who filed the complaint, had also filed a similar complaint accusing prominent activist Alaa Abdel Fattah on involvement in the Maspero violence in October.
Abdel Fattah’s lawyers accused Fahmy of perjury as he claimed he saw Abdel Fattah with activist Wael Abbas in the protest, which was proven untrue as Abbas was out of the country during the clashes.
Head of Ghad El-Thawra and presidential hopeful Ayman Nour was interrogated last week in the same probe and was released without bail and banned from travelling. He was questioned about accusations of funding thugs to infiltrate the protesters to cause a rift with the army forces.
Politician Mamdouh Hamza was summoned in the same probe but declined to attend as the summoning letter arrived late after the actual time of the interrogation. He told DNE earlier he will not stand before the judge.
Lawyers, working on the interrogations related to the deadly crackdown on a sit-in outside the cabinet headquarters and the subsequent violence, recounted in a press conference Sunday the difficulties they faced during the ongoing probe.
"These clashes are a continuation of the massacres taking place against the revolutionaries since last February when the military council took over power," head of Hisham Mubarak Law Center (HMLC) lawyer Ahmed Ragheb said Sunday.
"These clashes are not the first and won’t be the last as long as the military is in power," he added.
Ragheb said that rights lawyers have never seen this number of rights violations committed by army forces like what was documented in the Cabinet clashes probe, citing what he described as "bias" by prosecution and investigating judges against the detained protesters.
Lawyer representing Al-Nadeem Center for the Rehabilitation of Torture Victims, Basma Zahran, said that the latest data regarding the casualties in this probe included 19 martyrs, 750 injured, 10 lost, 250 defendants 62 of whom were released pending investigations, and over 70 minors who were eventually released without bail.
"The defendants were first taken to South Cairo Prosecution … most of them were severely injured, which forced us to ask doctors in the Tahrir Squares field hospital to come and treat them," Zahran said.
One of the defendants, Mohamed Mohey, died inside the prison from sustained injuries. "The injuries included broken ribs, cut distal phalanxes, brain concussions.
"The family of Mohey knew about his death three days later, and the report of the field hospital doctors recommended transferring 28 urgent cases to the hospital. Only nine were later referred," Zahran added.
She said that prosecutors declined to refer the defendants to hospitals, and when they were referred to the investigating judge, "he declined to remove their handcuffs which is considered illegal."
Lawyer representing HMLC Ahmed Hishmat accused the judges of bias. "One of them literally told one defendant that they [the protesters] should wait until June when the military hands over power," which Hishmat considered a lack of neutrality as judges should not express their political opinions during the interrogations.
Protesters have been calling for an immediate handover of power to civilian rule.
Lawyer representing Association of Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE) Menna El-Masry slammed the fund created to compensate the families of the martyrs and the injured, describing the process of registration and paperwork as "extremely difficult.
"We knew from the media that a national council was formed to run this fund, but no official decision to declare this council was made until now. We still don’t know who runs it, and the registration process is completely vague and difficult," El-Masry said.
A complaint was filed against the hospitals where the injured were treated, accusing them of not giving them the proper medical care, she said.
"The injury reports were not accurate. For example, one of the injured was shot in the leg and it was broken, the report would document the broken leg without mentioning the live ammunition fired at it," she added.
Families of the martyrs recounted difficulties to receive the dead bodies of their sons, while some released defendants recounted torture violations they were subject to while inside prison.
Many of the defendants and the injured claimed they were randomly arrested while walking near the site of the clashes.