Another Egyptian activist rejects military summons

An Egyptian activist rebuffed on Sunday a summons by military prosecutors for questioning over the violence that took place on 9 October outside the state TV building in Cairo.

Twenty-seven protesters and one army personnel were killed in the violence that erupted outside the Maspero building, following a march by mainly Coptic protesters decrying increasing assaults on churches.

Speaking to Al-Masry Al-Youm, Ahmed Derag, a senior member of the National Association for Change (NAC), said he was not informed of the charges or the reason for the summons.

Derag, who also heads the mass media department at Beni Suef University's Faculty of Art, said he rejects the prosecution of civilians before military courts, adding that he will adopt "measures" if he is arrested, but not defining what they would be.

Derag said that Egypt's state of emergency was lifted according to the interim constitution, and he will not appear before a military court until Emergency Law is reinstated through a public vote.

Derag's stance reflects a widescale campaign by political and human rights groups that seeks an end to military trials of civilians, dismissing such tribunals as a violation of the interim constitution and the right to a fair trial.

On Sunday, military prosecutors extended for an additional 15 days the detention of Alaa Abd El Fattah, a blogger and an activist, also pending investigations into the Maspero events. Abd El Fattah has refused to be interrogated by military officials, saying that as the military was involved in the bloody clashes it cannot be an impartial prosecutor.

The head of the military judiciary, Adel Morsy, said that military judiciary law entitles military courts to handle cases which involve the armed forces. He said that the suspects in the Maspero events, who include civilians and army personnel, are all equal before the law.

Following the Maspero violence, video clips showed protesters setting fire to military vehicles, while other footage showed armored vehicles running over protesters.

Egypt's military dismissed accusations by rights groups that it used excessive violence during the protests, contending that the killings happened by mistake, and blaming infiltrators for igniting the turmoil.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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