Egypt prosecutors question Brotherhood member over abuse claims

Ahram Online, Tuesday 16 Apr 2013

Muslim Brotherhood member Alaa Hamza is summoned by prosecutors to answer charges that he abused anti-government protesters during last December's clashes at presidential palace

Egyptian state prosecutors on Tuesday summoned Muslim Brotherhood member Alaa Hamza to answer questions regarding accusations that he had taken part in the mistreatment of anti-government protesters last month in the vicinity of the presidential palace in Cairo.

Last December, Muslim Brotherhood members were accused of physically abusing demonstrators who had been protesting against the policies of President Mohamed Morsi, who hails from the Islamist group.

A number of videos posted online following December's bloody confrontations outside the presidential palace – which resulted in several deaths – showed protesters being tied up, interrogated and physically abused by bearded men near the palace.

Hamza appeared in some of these videos, interrogating and insulting captured protesters. Some of those who testified also accused Hamza of involvement in torturing the captured.

One of the alleged victims of this abuse was former Egyptian diplomat Yehia Negm, who claimed in an interview with Egypt's Al-Hayat television channel that Brotherhood members had "tortured" him for several hours, causing injuries to his face and head.

Negm, along with Mina Philip, a Coptic communication engineer who was also physically assaulted, along with other witnesses, testified before the prosecution.

Egypt's Public Prosecution has been criticised by opposition figures and groups for allegedly failing to take action against those accused of mistreating civilian protesters.

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