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Military prosecutor releases 20 arrested at defence ministry clashes; 89 still ‎detained ‎

Some detained during the Abbasiya clashes are to be released, but more remain in detention as activists threaten to start hunger strike against military trials of civilians

Ahram Online, Saturday 19 May 2012
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The military prosecution has ordered the release of 20 of those arrested during clashes near the Ministry of Defence earlier this month. Some 89 remain in custody.

More than 300 were arrested during clashes between the military and protesters in the Abbasiya district of Cairo, following mass demonstrations against the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) at the Ministry of Defence.

Those arrested during the clashes face several charges, including infringing upon state institutions, using violence against members of the armed forces, halting traffic, illegal gathering and having breached a military area.

The military has repeatedly claimed that the arrests came only after attempts to break into the Ministry of Defence. Activists, on the other hand, condemned the use of excessive force by the military police in dispersing demonstrations and condemn the referral of civilians to military courts.

Several of the detained declared they would begin a hunger strike starting Sunday, 20 May, protesting the military trial of civilians, demanding they are referred to civil courts instead.

In solidarity, several activists announced they would be gathering on the same day at the Journalists' Syndicate where they would also go on hunger strike, protesting military trials of civilians.

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