Brotherhood considers granting military immunity to prosecution

The Muslim Brotherhood is not against granting the Egyptian armed forces immunity to prosecution over the killing of protesters during December’s clashes in downtown Cairo, provided that other political forces agree with the move, said Brotherhood spokesman Mahmoud Ghazlan.

“We do not mind, so long as this facilitates the hand-over of power,” he said in a phone interview with the private satellite channel Dream TV on Monday.

“We should not talk of a safe departure for the military council, as this humiliates the military establishment,” he said. “We should talk about giving the military immunity.”

Asked whether such a deal with the military would be considered improper, Ghazlan said: “Choosing less damage is permissible.”

The issue of oversight over the army is a central issue in political debates. Last November, thousands of protestors, mainly Islamists, gathered in Tahrir Square to voice their opposition to a document that would exempt the army from parliamentary oversight.

Security forces attacked the remaining protestors in Tahrir Square the next day, sparking street clashes in which 43 protesters were killed by security forces.

In the wake of the clashes, revolutionary forces called upon the army to immediately hand over power to civilian rule. When the military then broke up a peaceful sit-in outside cabinet in early December, they killed another 17 protesters, many of them shot dead by soldiers, with others surviving bullet injuries after hospital treatment.

Some experts say that the generals fear that they could meet a destiny similar to that of former President Hosni Mubarak, whose iron rule led the people to stage a massive uprising against him.

Concerning the families of those shot dead by the military, Ghazlan said the matter could be settled by apologizing and compensating them with blood money.

Ghazlan’s statements were rejected by the young members of the Muslim Brotherhood, who called for his dismissal.

“Ghazlan was being pragmatic,” said Bassan Qutb, a group member. “Unfortunately, it looks like the group is seeking power at the expense of the revolution.”

Translated from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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