The case of referring 40 Muslim Brotherhood leaders to the Military Tribunal, upon a presidential decree issued in early 2007, has witnessed several recent developments. The latest of these developments was the Tribunal"s schizophrenic actions when it dropped the terrorism and money laundry charges and then backpedaled by temporarily setting these charges aside and added further chargers to the bill of indictment against the first and the defendants: engineer Khayrat Al Shater the second deputy chairman of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and businessman Hassan Malek. It added the charge of running funds of the group.
Figures reflect how far this case has an effect on the society
This case is a referral of 40 Egyptian reformists, scientists and businessmen to military tribunals. They are care givers of more than 50 families which include 136 sons and daughters and 129 grandsons.
Their detention led actually to depriving 2225 persons of social benefits which these Egyptian reformists were offering. The detention of these reformists hurt 7600 workers and employees. Also harmed are 7350 university and MA students because some of these reformists are university professors. 28 PHD Dissertations, 17 MA theses and tens of academic researches were harmed under the continuous detention of university professors in this case. 76 companies have been closed or harmed while these persons are standing trial before the military tribunal.
Although they received 4 court acquittals, these reformists are still behind bars.
Families of MB Detainees Are Suffering
The military tribunal against Muslim Brotherhood leaders, the seventh in 12 years, is considered a political oppression against the moderate Egyptian group to keep it away from political participation. The detention of 40 MBs has a severe effect on not only the detainees themselves, but their families as well.
Health Status of Families for Detaining Caregivers
Mrs. `Azza, the wife of Eng. Khairat Al-Shater, suffered severely during the 33rd military tribunal, after which she was moved to `Ain Shams university hospital ICU. She passed through medical examinations, analyses, and rays, which turned out to suffer from cerebral thrombosis. Consequently, physicians decided to keep her in the hospital to intensify treatment for dissolving this blood clot.
Jasmine, a five years old girl [a daughter of Muhammad Hafiz, one of those suffering from the military tribunal], has been operated on for removing the pus stuck to her lungs. Her mother, Amal Ghalwash, told us the story from the very beginning:
"On the first day of Ramadan, Jasmine complained of catching cold. After being checked, the physician told us that the girl suffered from bronchitis. Fortnight later, we found out that we had the wrong diagnosis, therefore the girl was put under artificial respiration set due to acrocyanosis. The girl has been operated on to remove almost one liter of pus from her lungs.” “Her heart stopped twice." The mother told
Families during Ramadan
Dr. Muna, wife of Dr. Diaa" Farahat, one of those suffering from the military tribunal, said:
"The absence of the husband in Ramadan made the children suffer psychologically. We were accustomed to go with him for praying the noon and Dawn prayers in the mosque, then pray Al-Qiaam (The Rising prayer during the night) and recite the Glorious Qur"an at home congregationally… all these actions are different on his absence"
She added: "we tried that he listened the kids reciting the Glorious Qur"an and verify their mistakes, but doing this in prison is different from being among us at home".
"It"s difficult to cook any kind my husband prefers, we have given up so many things we loved because we cannot do them without him", she said.
Unhappy Fitr Feast celebration
Zahraa" Al-Shater- the wife of Eng. Ayman Abdul-Ghani and a daughter of Eng. Khairat Al-Shater- said: "we don"t know how did we spend the feast without the beloved ones. As for the kids, they never felt the fun of the feast as their fellows".
She added that the families of the detainees were physically tired, especially during fasting; therefore, we did not feel the amusement or fun of the feast.
Mrs. Heba, the wife of Mr. Muhammad Mihanna, said that the feast began and ended without any happiness or fun. She said: "My son `Umar- 3 yrs-old - asked whether he is going to spend the feast with his father in the sake of Allah; due to being young to understand the meaning of "For the sake of Allah", the guy thought that it"s a name of the place where his dad lives. We ask Allah to accept our good deeds and reward us for this infliction and sufferings".
Fatima Mahmoud Abu-Zeid, daughter of prof. Mahmoud Abu-Zeid [a cardiovascular professor at Al-Qasr Al-`Eini], said that she shall be proud of being related to a great family of a great Da`wah.
Fatima described what the families suffer from oppression and detaining theirs, the regime deprived the families from embracing their sons; the son cannot see his mother or father who died while being in detention; some of the detainees were deprived from attending the weddings of their sons!
Children for Freedom
Children of the MB court-martialed leaders face many effective situations and events that affect the kids" characters and formation. The kids witnessed the detention of their fathers, insisted on attending the trials, in addition to reiterative visits in prisons; the children lead a miserable life due to the absence of their fathers.
`Aisha Hassan Malik (10 years) describes her feelings during shouting that she feels being older than the real age and that both she and the father are being treated unjustly. She said that what the family suffers is "groundless injustice". She wnders: "whenever my father builds a project, the regime would come and destroy it though being build after exerting much effort… why?"
"The family curtained my father’s detention for three days, moreover they hided the papers in order not to know", she added.
Anas Hassan Malik (12 years) said that he tried to calm his younger sister whenever she wept. "Whenever she weeps and shivers while sleeping, I would go for Khadijah- his sister- to come and be with the young sister", he added.
Anas says: "I try to calm Khadijah and my mother, because what we suffer is an examination from Allah to see whether we are to be patient or not; if Allah finds that we are patient and calm, He will reward us for that…but if not, Allah will become discontented".
Ahmad Dhia" Farahat (12 years) expressed his feelings saying: "the way my family was treated by the security in injustice not only for the MB, but for the whole society and man as well; they detained my father without being guilty, he helps the society and its people".
The boy would shout before the court in an attempt to help his father who helped him in advance. "My classmates know that my father is not a criminal, I never feel ashamed of what my father suffers; I shall be proud instead", he added.
Sarah Ayman Abdul-Ghani composed some poetic verses titled [why do you take my family?]. The girl would weep and make the others weep also whenever she says poetry. The girl was deprived from her father, grandfather, and uncle. She would be absent from the school to attend the tribunals feeling that saying poetry is an attempt to defend her family.
She said: "I did not tell my friends that my father is imprisoned. My brother Anas (4 years) keeps a photo for his father under the pillow; he would look at it every night before sleeping".
`Amer Mahmoud Mursi (7 years) was asleep on detaining and kidnapping his father by the security forces. He cannot tell his friends what happened for they will not understand the situation.
Yusuf Said Sa`ad (8 years): he was awake while kidnapping his father, he was terrified, because it was in the night, the soldiers took his computer on which he was used to play. "I was concerned about his father because they took him in a big vehicle to a place I don"t know", he added.
In cooperation with the families of the MB detainees, the kids commenced a league titled (Chuldren for Freedom) that gathers all the children of the detainees who suffer from military tribunals and others. This league was declared during the Fifth Cairo International Conference at the Press Syndicate. The children ran elections in transparent boxes for choosing the league reporter, spokesperson, and the members of the directors.
In their statement, the league members called for the release of their fathers and for not detaining them again.
They said: "our fathers are not criminals or guilty to be detained, they were detained for nothing but calling for the freedom to take place in the country, for self-determination, building their renaissance, and sacrifice for the freedom of their nation".
It"s worthy mentioning that the children stand in service for all during the tribunal, distribute water and juice, raising banners and flags denouncing the injustice they and the country suffer, speak with the media, recite the Glorious Qur"an, say poetry, and sing Islamic poetry.
They try to defend their fathers; they would try to climb the walls to have a glance on their dads during getting down from the security vehicles or try to touch the hands of their fathers.
The issue of referring Muslim Brotherhood leaders to the Military Tribunal has actually vexed many international regional and local public figures, human rights activists and the public opinion. Due to the fact that these figures are well-reputed, lawyer Ragaei Attiya, a well known lawyer who is close to Egyptian decision making circles, joined the defense team of the MB detainees. However, he quit the defense team refusing to take part in what he called "a farce". He saw that civilians should never be referred to the military trials which don"t give them the opportunity to defend themselves. Attiya saw that this military tribunal is, by taking such measures, giving a deaf ear to all international conventions to which Egypt is a signatory.
Drawing public attention for more than a year, this case is coming to an end next Monday, Feb, 11th, the last time set be the court to hear the defense pleading. It is expected to set one more sentencing session. Will this military tribunal back these innocent persons or will it give one more plunge into the dark tunnel of a police state and oppression practices by the Egyptian government against critics.