Saturday, November 17, 2007
Detained Muslim Brotherhood Members Face New Escalations
State Security Apparatus escalated its assault on detained Muslim Brotherhood members when officers woke them up at 2am a couple of days ago for “inspections purposes.” The detainees, praised by a civilian court as “well known, reputable and respectable businessmen, engineers, doctors, accountants and professionals” we dealt with in a humiliating manner, as inspection dogs were used to walk them out of their cells, and they were kept all together in one cell, standing up and facing the wall while their cells were being inspected. Inspection lasted for 5 hours, as the officers only left at 7am. This five hours inspections was fruitless, as nothing “illegal” was found with any of the detainees, whose belongings were scattered in their cells. Officers presented no justification for this “night raid” of Tura and Burj Al Arab Prisons, the only place in Egypt where political opponents used to sleep not awaiting a “3am knock on the door” by State Security Apparatus coming to arrest them. Forty Brotherhood leaders, including Deputy Chief Khayrat El Shater, are currently standing before a military tribunal. Forty one sessions have been held so far, while all international and local observers, journalists and human rights activists have been denied access. In the last few sessions, the defense team discredited the financial report on the detainees’ assets, both in terms of content and legality. Reports of this coming out of the court room through lawyers and detainees’ families seems to have provoked State Security Officers, who retaliated by the night inspections. Health conditions of the detainees have been deteriorating over the past months, due to the lack of sufficient health care. At least seven defendants were unable to attend a few sessions due to health problems, while AbdelRahman Seoudi, one of the defendants, suffered a heart attack in the last session. These intimidations, accompanied by intense and long court sessions, have a negative effect on the detainees’ health. Court sessions take place at least three times a week in the Haikstep military base’s desert outside Cairo, with each session lasting for 7-8 hours, and the defendants spending at least two more hours in transportation between the military base and prison. They try to use the few hours they have left resting and reviewing the case documents to prepare for the next sessions. They hardly have time to meet with lawyers, so they have to do a lot of homework themselves, while leaves only a few hours of rest. Now, the regime is intimidating them in these few hours, which would have a negative effect on their health. The case of the Muslim Brotherhood members standing before a military tribunal is “politically motivated, and all the charges are groundless and fabricated with no substantial evidence whatsoever,” as a civilian court put it. MB leaders who were detained from their houses in night raids starting 14th December last year, and lasting for 3 weeks, were acquitted four times by civilian courts, and a fifth court found the president’s decision to transfer them to a military tribunal to be “unconstitutional,” yet they were never released. Now it seems that all that is not enough injustice for the respectable detainees, so the regime is trying to humiliate them. It will never succeed in doing so, because the Egyptian people, as well as democracy and human rights activists all over the world, will continue to look up with full respect to the sacrifices of men who have sincerely served their country and their cause. The only worry is that these escalations would have a drastic effect on the detainees’ health.