Rights Group: Eight Thousand Detainees in Egypt Since Beginning of Military Coup
Montasser El-Zayat, a cassation lawyer and president of the Moderation Forum, said that the number of detainees in Egypt since June 30, the day army generals carried out the coup against the first elected president in the country, reached eight thousand, stressing that they are not all members of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Earlier Wednesday, security forces arrested Mustafa Sayed Abdul-Samad, treasurer of Salafi Nour Party in Beni Suef.
In a statement Wednesday, Zayat further said: "Judicial, social and political moderation and balance in the state cannot be established until the judicial system guarantees honest defense for the accused, which may include lawyers working on a volunteer basis.
"Therefore, we have launched the ‘National Committee for the Defense of Detainees and Prisoners of Conscience’ to defend detainees who do not belong to the Muslim Brotherhood. Those often have no-one to defend them. As for the Muslim Brotherhood, it has a large team of lawyers in charge of the defense of its members."
Zayat, a prominent lawyer, added: "Nevertheless, if any detained Muslim Brotherhood member seeks our help, we will not hesitate to defend him or her, in the belief that every accused has the right to a lawyer to defend them.
"Detainees’ families contact us with their loved ones’ details, and a team of volunteer lawyers communicates with them and attends the investigations and hearings before the judiciary."
Mohamed Hashem, the new Committee’s Secretary General, who is also a cassation lawyer, said: "All detainees are referred to the prosecution accused of various crimes, mostly incitement to murder, resisting arrest and possession of weapons".
Hashem appealed to lawyers wishing to join the Committee to contact its Chairman, Montasser El-Zayat, pointing that the role of the Committee will not be confined to those detained in the past few months, but also it will support all prisoners of conscience and freedom of expression, of any political orientation.
(This article is an edited translation of an Arabic report originally posted on Islamion website.)