The Prosecutor General’s office has renewed the detention of 770 pro-Morsi protesters apprehended during the dispersal of the Rabaa Al-Adaweya sit-in and 118 others detained from the Al-Nahda Square sit-in.
The detainees will be held for another 15 days pending investigation into a range of charges, including carrying unlicenced weapons, using lethal force against security personnel, resisting arrest, murder, practicing torture and spreading chaos.
Prosecutors are also visiting Tora Prison to consider renewing the detention of 159 Muslim Brotherhood members and supporters for allegedly taking part in the Ramses clashes with security forces.
The Front to Defend Egypt’s Protesters (FDEP) condemned the prosecutor general’s office for “legal malpractice” in handling the detention of over a 100 pro-Morsi protesters held in Abu Zaabl Prison. The detainees were apprehended from the Rabaa Al-Adaweya sit-in.
According to a press statement released on Wednesday, FDEP accuses the prosecution of renewing their detentions as though it were “routine procedure.” It said that the prosecution did not uphold the detainees’ constitutional right to defence.
FDEP lawyer and member Malek Adly said the prosecution did not follow legal procedure when handling the case. The prosecution neither informed the suspects of the charges raised against each of them nor allowed them to speak and present witnesses or evidence in their defence, he added.
“This is a huge case and we are concerned that the prosecution is seeking political revenge rather than justice,” Adly said. “We have a problem with how this case is under the control and influence of the Ministry of Interior.”
Adly said the lawyers of the suspects were prevented from carrying out their work by security forces and barred from attending the prosecutor general’s session on renewing the detentions.
FDEP claimed in its press statement that only about 20 lawyers were permitted to attend the session that renewed the detentions of over a 100 suspects, while the majority of lawyers were denied entry by the police.
Adly added that the prosecution conducted the investigations in the premises of the prison, rather than following the correct procedure of holding them in the prosecutor’s office.
“This misconduct used to take place under former president Morsi and it is a bad sign of what is to come,” Adly said. “There is no democracy that does not uphold the right to defence.”
The independence of the prosecutor general has been a controversial issue in Egypt for decades, with many legal and human rights organisations calling for reform to the judiciary law. Its independence is put to question by how the body falls under the “administrative subordination” of the Ministry of Justice and is heavily dependent on the Ministry of Interior for its investigations into charges.