Revolutionary activists and political parties denounced the prosecutor general’s decision to arrest five political activists for interrogation on charges of inciting violence in front of the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters in Moqattam on Friday.
Prosecutor General Talaa’t Abdallah issued arrest warrants and travel bans for activists Alaa Abdel Fatah, Ahmed Douma, Hazem Abdel Azeem, Ahmed Ghoneimy, and Karim El-Shaer on Monday. Nawara Negm was also summoned for questioning on the same charges, but no arrest warrant was issued for her.
Abdel Fatah arrived at the High Court on Tuesday, responding to the arrest order. He wore white clothes in preparation for a possible decision by Abdallah to hold him in custody for investigation.
By law, prisoners being held in custody for investigations must dress in white.
Douma announced that he will not appear before Abdallah because he does not recognise his legitimacy as prosecutor general. “I won’t willingly appear before the prosecutor general and I won’t cooperate in any investigations led by him,” said Douma through his Facebook account.
“It is an honour to be imprisoned during Mubarak’s regime, then SCAF’s, and then the Muslim Brotherhood’s. They are all the same regime we took to the streets to topple, and we will topple it,” Douma added on Twitter.
Abdel Azeem also refused to appear before Abdallah, as he also does not recognise him as a legitimate public official. “I won’t grant the prosecutor general the honour of coming to him by myself. As long as I don’t recognise him he should come and arrest me by force. Mr. Prosecutor General, you are not a respectful person and you don’t deserve your position,” said Abdel Azeem.
Negm also said she will not appear before the prosecutor general because she had not as yet been officially summoned to do so.
Ali Khafagi, Secretary General of the Freedom and Justice Party’s (FJP) youth committee in Giza, claimed that the most recent clashes in front of the Brotherhood headquarters were more violent than previous clashes in the area. Khafagi claimed that protesters used birdshot and Molotov cocktails to attack Brotherhood guards on Friday 22 March, adding that the clashes of 15 March were less violent and did not involve such actions. “We don’t intervene in legal issues, but we believe that it is normal to prioritise the clashes of 22 March over the clashes of 15 March, because many serious injuries occurred during the 22 March clashes,” explained Khafagi.
Shaa’ban Abdel Aleem, a high board member of the Salafi Al-Nour Party, said his party advocates the rule of law and that criminals should be punished regardless of their political affiliations.
Misr Al-Qawia Party issued a statement calling on Abdallah to investigate previous violent incidents including clashes at the Itihadiya presidential palace, violence in the Canal cities, and the besiegement of the Supreme Constitutional Court. The statement mentioned that no decision was taken regarding those incidents, while investigations started a few hours after the end of the Moqattam clashes.
The statement also called on President Mohamed Morsi not to intervene in investigations held by the prosecution.
The Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights (EOHR) issued a statement on Tuesday, criticising Abdallah’s decision. The statement mentioned that the decision could be political.