A man who claims to have witnessed the deadly clashes at Cairo’s state TV building, Maspero, says he saw detained blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah steal weapons and assault members of the armed forces during the deadly night.
Abdel Fattah, a renowned Egyptian blogger and activist, is currently detained by Egypt’s military prosecution on charges of inciting violence and assaulting military personnel during the Maspero clashes of 9 October when armed forces cracked down on a peaceful march of Egyptian Christians.
Abdel Fattah’s supporters have slammed the new witness's accusations as ridiculous and condemned his so called testimony, which has popped up more than two weeks after Abdel Fattah's detention.
The witness, Fahmy Abdel Aziz, who claims he is a member of the Revolutionary Youth Coalition and the Freedom Egypt Party, alleges that he saw Abdel Fattah and his friends brutally beating a soldier of the armed forces.
He says that he was on his way to the Freedom Egypt Party headquarters on the Kasr El Aini Street in downtown Cairo when he heard that a huge march was heading to Maspero. He decided to go to the march and when he arrived he recognised several activists, including members of the 6th of April Movement, the Maspero Youth Union as well as Abdel Fattah, Bahaa Saber and blogger, Wael Abbas. Abbas immediately denied these allegations on his twitter account saying that he was not even in Egypt at that time, but in Tunisia attending a conference.
According to Abdel Aziz, the armed forces were not attacking the protesters and they were actually excercising self-restraint and limiting their role to securing the area. He adds that when he arrived at the Abdel Moneim Riyad Square (adjacent to Maspero) he saw Abdel Fattah and several of his friends assault a soldier of the armed forces, confiscate his weapon, which looked like an automatic rifle.
He then alleges that he saw Abdel Fattah run to the Nile River, hurl the weapon into it, before climbing into a car with a license plate of the Saloum governorate and speeding away.
Abdel Aziz, adds that he had previously met Abdel Fattah during the 18-day uprising against ousted president Mubarak and had met him sporadically during the following months at various protests.
Abdel Fattah, he says, always held a grudge against the armed forces. During the 9 March clashes, he says, when the army tried to force the protesters out he heard him say that the protesters will one day “teach the armed forces a lesson.”
While Abdel Aziz claims that he is a member of the Revolutionary Youth Coalition, Sally Touma, a member of the coalition, refutes his claim.
“He is not a member of the coalition: I have never heard of him and I have no idea who he is,” Touma told Ahram Online. “We were all there in the square that night and haven’t witnessed Alaa doing any of these things. These are all lies and fabrications.”
As far as Abdel Aziz’ claim that he is a member of the Freedom Egypt Party, another member, Nirvana Shawky, confirms that Abdel Aziz is a member of the party for the Gharbiya governorate, but said that he was acting of his own volition and not on behalf of the party.
“The Freedom Egypt Party stands strongly against the trying of civilians in military courts and has previously released statements of solidarity with Abdel Fattah and other activists who were arrested that night,” Shawky said.
Shawky also said Abdel Aziz is being questioned about his testimony internally by the party.
“The party is furious that Abdel Aziz has dragged its name into this,” Shawky said.