The trial of dozens of people charged in the Abasseya clashes of May 2012 resumed on Tuesday resulting in sentences of as much as a year in prison. Many were acquitted on Tuesday, while several others were handed three and six month sentences.
Political activists and revolutionary figures held an Iftar event outside Tora prison on Tuesday, in solidarity with all those unjustly incarcerated for political reasons, as well as those imprisoned in military jails even for criminal cases. Military generals claim that none of the detainees are ‘political prisoners’ and have all committed a crime of some kind.
The event was organised by a number of revolutionary groups. Ahmed Doma, a coordinator for the Iftar event, said groups such as the Tahalof Ded Al Askar Wal Ekhwan , Coalition Against the Military Junta and Muslim Brotherhood, movement, the movement for Arab Revolution Youth , and Al-Masry Al-Horr , The Free Egyptian movement, as well as other independent revolutionary youth groups would participate in the Ramadan break fast event.
“The Iftar is aimed at being a symbolic, rather than rallying, one,” Doma said. “Our main goal is to deliver the message that we shall never forget all those inside prisons. Even if it only means that they get to hear about it in tomorrow’s newspaper, it shall be enough.”
Doma, who is also facing charges for the 2011 December cabinet building clashes, said in an interview before the Iftar was held, that the revolution is no longer party to the battle between the “junta and the Muslim Brotherhood.”
“Our real battle is the release of all the current detainees, either those held on political background, or any other civilians detained in military prisons.”
Doma said another Iftar event, with more revolutionary groups, will be held on the 10th of Ramadan.
On Monday, 572 detainees were released from military prisons, following a presidential pardon on Thursday of last week.
“It’s a step which must be applauded,” Doma said, commenting on the release of the 572 detainees. “Nevertheless, if we keep releasing them 400 at a time, we’ll only be done in years!”
Doma said thousands of military detainees waiting for release. No Military Trials for Civilians Movement was similarly unimpressed with the release. “Our stance remains as it always has been,” Shahira Abouellail, one of the co-founders of the movement, said. “We remain against the entire mechanism of military trials. We do not accept the way which the detainees are being released.”
“The solution is much simpler than that,” Abouellail said. “It doesn’t even need a special committee. They could’ve easily come to us and we would have supplied them with all the necessary documentsand lists.”
Ragia Omran, another prominent member of the movement said, “pardon is not enough. We need those military trials to be abolished altogether. We demand material as well as moral compensation for all those militarily detained. Moreover, they deserve an apology for all the torture and suffering they witnessed.”
The trial is expected to resume on Wednesday.