Coptic families file charges against former military rulers for Maspero massacre

Ahram Online , Saturday 29 Sep 2012

Families of those killed in the "Maspero massacre" want to see former military rulers on trial, complain no one has been held accountable 10 months after deadly incident

Around 30 Coptic families filed charges Saturday against former head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, former Chief of Staff Sami Anan, former head of the military police Hamdi Badeen and current head of the military police Ibrahim El-Damati, accusing them of killing Coptic protesters in October 2011.

Known as the “Maspero Massacre,” on 9 October 2011 Coptic Christians took the streets joined by Egyptian Muslims protesting the destruction of a church in Aswan. The demonstration was confronted by the military in front of the Maspero Radio and Television building leaving at least 24 dead and 329 injured.

Known leftist and Coptic activist Mina Daniel, whose face subsequently became one of the revolution's icons, was among those killed that day.  

Despite video footage and eyewitness testimonies revealing military involvement in the killings, with some footage showing military tanks running over protesters, SCAF insisted on conducting the investigation into the events alone and ended up exonerating the army of wrongdoing.

At the time, General Mohamed El-Assar, a member of the SCAF, insisted that army personnel were unarmed and were victims of hostilities. 

Moreover, revolutionary activists were summoned to appear before the military prosecution, with one activist, Alaa Abdel-Fattah, accused of stealing military weapons and detained for several weeks.

Families who filed charges Saturday complained it has been 11 months since the massacre and no one has yet been held accountable. Meanwhile, in their accusation, they say the military killed their loved ones by live ammunition and running them over with military tanks.

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