A military court sentenced an 8 April officer to a year and a half imprisonment on Tuesday. According to Nesrine Yousef from the Supporters of the 8 April Officers Movement, First Lieutenant Mohamed Al-Wadei was transferred to a military mental hospital in Maadi following his sentence.
Yousef and other members of the movement held a protest Wednesday evening demanding his release. The 8 April officers were convicted for participating in an anti-army protest on 8 April 2011.
“We are protesting on Wednesday because we don’t know what is going on with Al-Wadei and he is not what they think he is,” Yousef explained. “They call protesters beggars and call the soldiers the same.”
Yousef admitted that the future of Al-Wadei is uncertain, given other members arrested for the same crime were sentenced but later released. “His parents are tired and they said they will be on hunger strike starting Wednesday through to Friday. They don’t know what is happening to their son and we don’t understand what Morsy and the SCAF are doing.”
“Something happened between him and [Mohamed Hussein] Tantawi,” Yousef explained. Al-Wadei was a hobby writer and oft critical of Tantawi, former commander in chief of the Armed Forces, and the army for their handling of the revolution. Before Tantawi was retired, a soldier who worked with him told Al-Wadei “Tantawi hates you.”
On 10 September messages circulated around social media sites claiming Al-Wadei had reportedly been assaulted for releasing a video from within prison talking about his detainment.
There are still 18,000 people arrested during the revolution for political actions being held in prison, according to Yousef. She called on the new defence minister Abdel Fattah Al–Sissi, to help such people.
Al-Wadei was arrested along with 21 other soldiers for participation in a protest held in Tahrir Square on 8 April 2011. Their participation was a response to of a crackdown on protesters by security forces on 9 March 2011, where hundreds of people were subjected to arrest and torture.
Women were given virginity tests and countless protesters were held in the museum during their interrogations.
Al-Wadei reportedly the only one of those arrested on 8 April that is still being detained, according to Yousef. On 3 September the Movement of the Supporters of the 8 April Officers Movement Facebook group reported some of the men had been pardoned.
The other officers were handed a sentence of between one and three years for their participation, however this sentence was only given verbally but never signed by the court. She said after their sentences, each soldier was sent for psychiatric evaluation in a military hospital in July before being sent back to work.
8 April is an umbrella term for officers arrested for participation in protests on the 21 arrested on 8 April, the three on 27 May and the three on 20 November. Of the 29 soldiers, five still remain under custody, including Al-Wadei.