Committee investigating military detainees to recommend more releases

The committee investigating cases of civilians detained by the military following the 25 January revolution plans to recommend that President Mohamed Morsy order the release of protesters convicted in Suez on 9 July, which is technically beyond the committee’s jurisdiction, said committee head Judge Mohamed al-Mahdy on Monday.

Morsy had formed the Committee to Research Detainees' Files to investigate cases during the period between 25 January 2011 and the handover of power from the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to the newly elected president on 30 June 2012.

The committee includes staff from the Interior Ministry, the military judiciary and the public prosecution, as well as civil society and revolutionary representatives.

The Suez military court found eight demonstrators guilty on 9 July of charges related to violent incidents that broke out on 4 May around the Suez Security Directorate and the governorate’s headquarters. The incidents coincided with the Abbasseya clashes in Cairo. The committee plans to recommend the release of those detainees.

Mahdy said the committee has received around 1,000 complaints from the National Council for Human Rights regarding civilian detainees in military prisons. The committee will continue to examine these complaints and submit a report to the president, despite unequivocal assurances recently made by the Interior Ministry that the state is not currently holding any criminal or political prisoners, he added.

The committee is not responsible, however, for investigating cases of detained jihadists or members of Islamic groups, such as Mostafa Hamza, the main suspect in the assassination attempt on Mubarak in Addis Ababa in 1995, Mahdy clarified.

“We are only tasked with considering the cases of those detained on charges relating to the revolution or who were arrested without legal basis,” Mahdy said.

In a statement on Monday, the committee stated that special dispensations for these military prisoners for the purpose of community reconciliation is not a sign of disrespect for the law in this new political era.

Security authorities did not object to any of the names that the committee had recommended to the president to receive amnesty, the statement concluded.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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