Thursday, May 31, 2012

Protests for release of detainees facing military trials

Egypt: Protests for release of detainees

CAIRO, May 22 (UPI) -- Some 31 Egyptian political groups Tuesday pledged to escalate protests until the government releases 89 detained demonstrators.

The most recent demonstration Sunday was a one-day hunger strike in which 400 citizens participated in solidarity with the 86 detainees already on hunger strike, Ahram Online reported.

The detainees in question were arrested during May 4 clashes between demonstrators and security forces outside the Defense Ministry in Cairo's Abbasiya district. More than 300 were originally arrested but 211 have since been released.

Political groups signing the statement issued Tuesday include the National Front for Justice and Democracy, the Free Islamist Alliance, the 'We Are All Detainees' Movement and the Egyptian Feminist Alliance.

The ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces has alleged the arrests only took place due to protesters' attempts to storm the Defense Ministry.

Activists have criticized the trial of demonstrators in military tribunals, demanding they be referred to civil court instead. Ahram Online reported approximately 12,000 civilians have been tried by military prosecution since the Armed Forces assumed power in February of last year.

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