Egypt's Tahir protesters debate what to do with captured criminals

Yassin Gaber, Monday 11 Jul 2011

With the arrests of 'tens' of suspected criminals and counter-revolutionary thugs in Tahrir Square over the past few days, protesters discuss their options, debating how to proceed on detained individuals

Securing the square entrances is one of the main challenges that the protesters face during the sit-in in Tahrir square (Photo by: Mai Shaheen)

At about four in the morning on Monday, ‘security guards’ who maintain and protect Tahrir Square’s checkpoints caught a thief who had stolen someone’s laptop amongst other items. Earlier a drug dealer was also captured, drawing protesters' attention as he was marched off in the direction of the Mogamma. Since the citizen arrests took place, discussions among various groups of protesters have been ongoing as they grapple with possible ways of dealing with these criminal suspects.

Some argued that handing these individuals over to the military would be hypocritical, since the revolutionary forces are unanimous in their opposition of military trials for civilians, while others spoke of the futility of turning them over to the police who would inevitably release them back onto the streets.

The head of the popular committee that has been organising the square’s security spoke of having confiscated about 2,000 weapons and arresting tens of suspect individuals for thievery and smuggling weapons and drugs into Tahrir. He added that arrested individuals were photographed, providing an easy way of discovering any repeat offenders. The sit-in's security chief stressed that there had been several cases of suspects handed over to the interior ministry only to be released and redirected towards the Tahrir sit-in.

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