Egypt activist summoned for criticizing military

AP News
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Posted: May 30, 2011 4:08 PM
Egypt activist summoned for criticizing military

A prominent Egyptian activist was summoned Monday for questioning by the country's military rulers over comments criticizing their human rights record.

Hossam el-Hamalawy, 33, said he was ordered to appear before military prosecutors Tuesday after he charged that the head of the military police responsible for reported abuses against activists, He spoke on a popular TV program on a private station. He said the TV presenter, Reem Maged, was also summoned for questioning.

"I have been expecting this for a long time," el-Hamalawy said.

Egypt's governing Armed Forces Supreme Council has been coming under increasing pressure from the protest movement and political groups for its management of the transitional period following the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak on Feb. 11.

Critics say the military has been slow in introducing radical reforms to uproot former regime officials and has often put civilians on military trial.

Reformers also criticize the military council's reaction to criticism. Two journalists and a potential presidential candidate have been summoned for interrogation for comments about the military.

A large rally was organized Friday named "Egypt's second revolution," primarily to push the military to heed the demands of the protesters.

A day before the rally, el-Hamalawy appeared with Maged on the TV program called "Our country in our own words," where he leveled his charges against the new rulers.

"Just like Hosni Mubarak didn't go down to the streets and shoot the protesters himself, but we are trying him today on charges of killing the revolutionaries, Maj. Gen. Hamdy Badeen is responsible for the military police which is responsible for violations," he said. He also called for public trials of Mubarak and former regime officials.

Gamal Eid, a human rights lawyer, said journalist Nabil Sharaf el-Din was also summoned for questioning Tuesday. Sharaf el-Din appeared on the same station Friday, saying the military rulers' handling of the transition raises questions about whether they had struck a deal with the country's powerful Muslim Brotherhood.

A member of the military council phoned in, hotly denying Sharaf el-Din's accusations.

Human rights groups say following Mubarak's ouster Egyptian authorities continue to restrict freedom of assembly, torture detainees and try civilians in military courts.

Widespread silencing of dissent and abuse of detainees were among the issues that led to the popular revolution that toppled Mubarak.

El-Hamalawy, a blogger, was one of the leading figures in the protests. He had a long record of criticizing Mubarak and was arrested during protests in 2000.

Since Mubarak's ouster, he has been compiling a record of abuses by Mubarak's security forces, gleaned from documents unearthed after protesters stormed state security offices to prevent them from destroying the files.

In an apparent response to criticism, the military said Monday it is inviting protest groups and youth coalition leaders to a national dialogue "to keep in contact with the people and the revolution youth." In a message on is official Facebook page, the military called 1,000 youth representatives to a meeting on Wednesday.