Contact: Suzanne Trimel, 212-633-4150, [email protected]
(New York) — Egypt's Supreme Council of the Armed Forces must immediately release a prominent blogger and activist detained in connection with the bloody crackdown on the Maspero protests, Amnesty International said today, after a military court rejected his appeal against his continuing detention.
The court on Thursday detained 30 other civilians for a further 15 days in the same case.
"The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces must be subject to public criticism and anyone imprisoned simply for criticizing the army is a prisoner of conscience and should be immediately and unconditionally released," said Amnesty International.
Alaa Abdel Fattah was detained after he criticized the military's bloody intervention in protests October 9, in which 27 people were killed when security forces violently dispersed protests around the state television building, known as Maspero.
Fattah appeared before military prosecutors on Sunday to answer charges of inciting violence against the military, assaulting the armed forces and stealing weapons.
He was detained for 15 days after he refused to answer questions because of his opposition to civilians being tried before military courts.
The military court ruled that Fattah will now serve the remainder of his 15-day detention in Tora Prison.
The blogger and activist wrote a vivid account of his imprisonment that was smuggled out of detention center he is being held in earlier this week.
"In his letter, Alaa Abdel Fattah talks of others who have faced injustice at the hands of the military's repression. He has become a symbol of the thousands of civilians who have faced summary military trials.”
"That the military is investigating itself over its conduct during the Maspero protests raises serious questions about the inquiry's impartiality,” said Amnesty International. "The authorities must launch a fully independent investigation into the policing of the protests and the death of protesters.”
The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces has yet to hold the security forces to account for the excessive use of force used against the Maspero protesters. Instead, they have continued to insist that the demonstrators were responsible for inciting the violence and have cracked down on those criticizing the way they handled the demonstrations.
Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 2.8 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.
# # #
For more information, please visit: www.amnestyusa.org.