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Activists accusing Brotherhood members of torture say trial is politicised

Leftist activists Ola Shahba and Ramy Sabry say the trial that followed their legal complaint filed under Morsi only targets Muslim Brotherhood members and ignores the role of the police in torture

Ahram Online, Wednesday 14 May 2014
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Two leftist activists who filed a legal complaint against Muslim Brotherhood members on charges of torture released a statement Wednesday claiming the trial is politicised.

Ola Shahba and Ramy Sabry, both members of "Freedom for the Brave" campaign aimed at the release of political prisoners, accused last December members of the Muslim Brotherhood of detaining them and torturing them during protests opposing now ousted president Mohamed Morsi at the presidential palace.

The two, however, complain that the trial now underway after the ouster of Morsi has ignored their complaints accusing the interior minister and police of overseeing their torture by Brotherhood members. An Al-Wasat Party lawyer who they also accused of supervising the torture was not put on trial, according to their statement, but only summoned as a witness.

"We want to voice our disapproval at the overall political atmosphere in which the trials are taking place, which turns [the court trials] from a tool to attain justice to one used to settle political scores," referring to the crackdown targeting the Muslim Brotherhood and their supporters following the ouster of Morsi.

The two activists further pointed out "our case was originally because we protested against the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood, and if millions of Egyptians had not protested on 30 June to get rid of the Brotherhood this trial would not have seen the light."

"We condemn laws regulating the right to protest and also the brutal crackdown of the state and the interior minister against peaceful protesters, including our comrades who have faced arrest, torture and have even been killed for protesting," the statement added.

A law issued last November bans protests that do not attain a permit from authorities in advance. Since the law was issued, thousands, including non-Islamists, have been arrested in protests deemed unlawful.

Prominent activists, including April 6 Youth Movement founding members Ahmed Maher and Mohamed Adel, as well as Egyptian Popular Current member Ahmed Douma, have been sentenced to three years based on the law. Independent activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah is facing trial on charges of calling for an illegal protest.

Several protests have been forcefully dispersed for violating the protest law, during which many were injured and some killed.

Shahba and Sabry filed their legal complaint against members of the Muslim Brotherhood when Morsi was still president. Video footage circulating on media outlets showed a visibly beaten Shahba after she was detained by Morsi supporters for protesting against a constitutional decree issued by the Islamist president immunising his decisions from judicial appeal.

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