Rights group: Maspero detainees abused by military police

Nada Hussein Rashwan, Tuesday 25 Oct 2011

Local human rights watchdog claims military police sexually assaulted some of those detained in wake of Maspero clashes while depriving others of access to medical care

Maspero clashes on Bloody Sunday, 9 October 2011 (Photo:AP)

The Cairo-based Nadeem Centre for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence and Torture issued a report on Tuesday documenting cases of assault and sexual harassment by military police against detainees arrested in the wake of the violent clashes that rocked Cairo on 9 October.

At least 26 people were killed and hundreds injured during violent confrontations on what became known as Bloody Sunday between Coptic Christian protesters and supporters of equal rights, and military personnel.

According to the report, published on the Centre’s Facebook page, three detainees were sexually assaulted by military police while being transported to a Cairo courtroom on Monday.

The report also states that fresh accusations have recently been added to the list of charges initially levelled against the detainees.

During the clashes, some 30 civilians – including three minors – were arrested and referred to military courts for their alleged roles in inciting the violence. On 10 October, they were formally charged with destruction of military property, assaults against military personnel, and intent to vandalise private property.

According to the Nadeem Centre’s report, however, Monday’s court session saw the addition of a fresh charge – that of  “association with a group that aims to disturb peace and public security in front of the State Radio and Television Union building [Maspero] and elsewhere, leading to the use of force against the crowd.”

The report also states that the military prosecutor had refused a request by defence lawyers to refer injured detainees – who were allegedly beaten by military police upon their arrest – to forensic authorities for examination. “In the military court system, we don’t know of any forensic authorities,” the military officer in charge of the case was quoted in the report as telling defence lawyers.

The next court hearing for the defendants has been set for 3 November.

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