Two activists summoned for questioning by military prosecutor

The military prosecutor summoned two activists on Tuesday to reportedly question them about the Maspero violence, sources told Al-Masry Al-Youm.

Alaa Abd El Fattah, a prominent activist and blogger, is one of them, according to his family. Fattah's father, Ahmed Seif al-Islam, says he believes his son has been asked to appear before the military prosecutor as an eyewitness to the deadly violence at Maspero on 9 October, which left 28 people dead.

"This is my assumption. Or there may be another reason, we will see," said Seif al-Islam. 

Bahaa Saber, another blogger and activist, has also been summoned by the military. Saber told Al-Masry Al-Youm, that an envoy from the military prosecutor went to his house on Monday night and asked him to show up at the East Cairo Military Prosecutor office. He was informally told that the summoning order pertains to the Maspero events.

"I don't know if I am summoned because I am accused or because I am a witness, but it's quite scary." Saber spent the following day of the violence with the families of the victims at the Coptic Hospital.

"I am not worried," says Seif al-Islam, a longtime human rights lawyer and activist. "We are at a stage where the regime cannot stand freedom of expression anymore and wants to curb it…[but] Egyptians have already surmounted their fear and come out of the cage. Any attempt to create a new cage will fail." 

Abd El Fattah is currently attending a conference in the US and is scheduled to return in three days. His family is expected to send a lawyer to the military prosecutor tomorrow to explain that he is out of the country and ask why he has been summoned. 

"Theoretically, the lawyer should be allowed to know the reason why [his client is summoned] but the military prosecutor does not necessarily abide by legal obligations," the activist’s father said. 

Abd El Fattah was arrested during a protest in 2006 and held in jail for 45 days, sparking an international outcry over the former regime’s assault on free speech. Since the 25 January revolution began, he has continued protesting and organizing.

Saber was also previously arrested in 2006.

A number bloggers and other activists, including Asmaa Mahfouz and Hossam el-Hamalawy, have been summoned for questioning by the military since it took control in February. Most have been released within a day.

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