Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Egypt: Prominent blogger and activist detained

"The authorities must stop trying civilians before unfair military courts, Amnesty International said today, after a prominent Egyptian blogger and activist was detained.

Alaa Abdel Fattah appeared before military prosecutors on Sunday, but refused to answer questions because of his opposition to civilians being tried before military courts.

The prosecution ordered his detention for 15 days pending further investigation. Activist Bahaa Saber, who was interrogated at the same time, also refused to be questioned and was released on bail.

Both men criticized the fact that the military is in charge of investigating the killing of at least 27 people on 9 October, when troops and riot police violently dispersed protests around the state television building, known as Maspero. The demonstrations were sparked by attacks on Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority.

The Egyptian military was part of the violence which occurred during the Maspero protests and is also leading the investigation into the bloodshed,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

This is totally unacceptable and raises serious and fundamental questions about the inquiry’s independence and impartiality.

“Egypt’s military authorities must allow an independent investigation into these killings if they are serious about bringing those responsible to justice.”....."

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