CAIRO: The South Giza Court
renewed Monday the detention of 154 Copts for 15 more days pending
police investigations into Al-Omraneya clashes between protesters and
security forces that left two people dead.
In the same case, the prosecution ordered the release of two women, and released two detained minors to their parents’ custody.
Clashes erupted late last month between security forces and Coptic
Christians who were protesting in front of the Mar Girguis Church after
Al-Omraneya district’s administration decided not to allow the Copts to
turn a community center — which is still under construction next to the
Virgin Mary and Archangel Michael Church — into a chapel.
The clashes left two protesters dead, one of whom died before arriving at a hospital.
On Nov. 25, the Prosecutor General ordered the 15-day detention of 156 protesters.
Ramsis El-Naggar, the Orthodox Church’s lawyer, told Daily News Egypt
that he plans on filing a complaint to Prosecutor General Abdel-Meguid
Mahmoud in order to release the detainees. El-Naggar stated that the
general prosecution is violating the Constitution by renewing their
detention without legal grounds.
The 156 defendants are charged with assaulting central security
officers, the attempted murder of an Omraneya police officer, damaging
an official central security forces vehicle, the theft of a central
security forces vehicle battery, illegal assembly, the use of illegal
weapons, failing to provide personal identification documents, throwing
stones at police cars and pedestrians, deliberate destruction of
buildings for a terrorist objective, blocking traffic, possession and
use of explosives, and disturbing public security and peace.
Lawyers from various human rights organizations said they were
prevented from attending the investigations alongside the defendants.
Hoda Nasrallah, a lawyer from the Egyptian Initiative for Personal
Rights, told Daily News Egypt that she went to court with several other
lawyers and security forces prevented them from entering the building.
“The defendants were treated in a harsh and unlawful manner,” said
Nasrallah. “They were divided into groups of 15 and were investigated
with one group at a time, even though the law states that they should be
investigated [on an individual basis].”
Dozens of Coptic Christians protested on Saturday in front of the
Supreme Court demanding the release of the defendants. The Egyptian
Union for Human Rights Organization filed a complaint to the prosecutor
general which also called for the detainees’ release.
Source : By Essam Fadl, Daily News Egypt, December 7, 2010.