SCAF says public prosecution to investigate Maspero, Tahrir clashes

Hatem Maher, Tuesday 22 Nov 2011

Egypt’s ruling military council says the general, rather than the military, prosecutor will carry out investigations into the ‎Maspero and Tahrir clashes

Maspero clashes
Egyptian Christians clash with soldiers and riot police during a protest against an attack on a church in southern Egypt, in Cairo 9 October 2011 (Photo: Reuters)

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) said the public prosecution would investigate the recent Maspero and Tahrir clashes, which left dozens dead and scores injured, in an attempt to appease angry protesters in Tahrir Square.

SCAF has come in for fierce criticism for failing to pinpoint the culprits in the infamous Maspero clashes between the army and mostly Coptic Christian protesters, which left at least 29 dead in front of the state TV Maspero building in October.

After police and the military brutally dispersed a sit-in in Tahrir on Saturday, thousands of demonstrators have taken to the streets. The ensuing clashes have left at least 28 dead, according to the Egyptian Health Ministry.

The fresh violence sparked an outcry in the country which culminated in a million-man march on Tuesday and confrontations between police and protesters in several governorates, including Alexandria, Suez and Mansoura.

“The head of the Supreme Council of Armed Forces has decided to refer the investigations into the Maspero and Tahrir clashes, which are currently being carried out by the military prosecution, to the public prosecution,” SCAF said in official communiqué number 82.

The detention of activist and blogger Alaa Abdel-Fattah by the military prosecution, who accused him of inciting attacks against the army in front of Maspero, has also made headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Abdel-Fattah, who was supported by many activists on social networking sites, refused to answer the charges of the military prosecution, saying it did not have the right to question him because it was involved in the clashes.

Pundits and activists have repeatedly demanded that SCAF stop sending civilians to face military trials.

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