CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt's former ruling generals will be investigated by a civilian judge who is examining accusations they are responsible for the deaths of activists killed in protests during the army's stewardship of the country.
The investigation covers accusations against Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi who was the head of the military council that assumed power from President Hosni Mubarak in 2011 and who was sent into retirement with other top generals by President Mohamed Mursi in August.
"Over 136 accusations have been filed against Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi and chief-of-staff Lieutenant General Sami Enan," said a judicial source. The investigation headed by Judge Tharwat Hammad is an initial inquiry into complaints filed by members of the public, including the families of victims.
Activists hold the generals responsible for the spasms of violence that punctuated their rule, which ended on June 30.
The accusations cover some of the bloodiest moments in their 17 months in charge, including a protest by Christians outside the state television building in which 25 people were killed. Army vehicles were seen driving into the crowd.
The judicial investigation marks a break with the past. Army personnel would typically only be investigated by the military. It was unclear how long the investigation would last.
Mursi, a member of the once banned Muslim Brotherhood until he was elected president, is the first Egyptian president not to have emerged from the military.
Mursi forced both Tantawi and Enan into retirement on August 12 following an attack in the Sinai Peninsula by suspected Islamist militants and in which 16 Egyptian border guards were killed. Mursi gave both generals honorary awards and appointed them as advisors.
(Writing by Marwa Awad; Editing by Tom Perry and Jon Hemming)