Military refuses to disclose number of detainees in Abbasseya clashes

Major General Adel al-Morsy, head of the military judiciary, on Tuesday refused to disclose the number of people detained in the clashes that erupted last Friday between demonstrators and army troops in front of the Defense Ministry in Abbasseya.

Al-Masry Al-Youm had on Saturday reported that the East Cairo Military Prosecution office ordered the detention of 300 people for 15 days pending investigations.

At a news conference on Tuesday, Morsy said the detainees filed appeals that the military court would consider within 48 hours.

“Detention pending investigation is not a punishment,” Morsy said, explaining that it is a justifiable practice set out in the Military Justice and Penal Codes. “It is applied in the whole world when military installations are attacked.”

He added that the number that was announced by the Interior Ministry of those wanted and those accused of inciting the clashes is not final.

He also said that investigators are not obliged to complete their work within a certain time limit.

About the journalists who were arrested in the clashes, Morsy said they were all released because they were just doing their job in covering the events, as per the testimony of their syndicate chairman. “This was applied to the doctors and engineers syndicates as well,” he said

On claims that military judges swear to obey their leaders, and could thereby be prejudiced, Morsy said such claims aim to tarnish the reputation of the military judiciary.

“Judges are independent according to Article 38 of Law 46/1976,” he said. “They cannot be dismissed, and they only swear to God to apply justice and respect the law.”

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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