- Life Style
The families of the revolution's martyrs held a press conference in Tahrir Square on Friday, reminding the revolutionaries of their demands for immediate and fair trials for those who killed their children.
The families distributed a statement at the conference, an online version of which went viral on activists' blogs and Facebook pages.
Just as the issue of the martyrs had a critical role in amassing public sympathy during the 18 days of the uprising, increasing participation, it spurred what activists have called a second revolution when an open-ended sit-in kicked off in Cairo's Tahrir and other cities in Egypt on 8 July. The sit-in was provoked by the fact that policemen accused of killing protesters have been released on bail and some have reportedly threatened families if they don't drop charges.
"Because the media manipulation of the issue of the revolution's martyrs and wounded, for which the killers have not yet been punished, but have instead been promoted, given bonuses and left to exert pressure and threats in different ways [on us], we have been holding this sit-in, hoping that we will be one day protected from thugs who practice their thuggery in official uniforms."
The families repudiated media claims that their plea is a materialistic quest to profit from the deaths of their relatives, and that some were thugs who threatened policemen, who killed them in self-defense.
The families included eight demands in the statement.
The first was the immediate detention of all policemen accused of killing protesters because their freedom has given them the opportunity to try to influence the families, frighten them, and falsify evidence.
They also demanded that the accused policemen be tried in criminal courts, that cases are not delayed for a long time and that a specialized team in the public prosecution be freed to look into all the cases. The families called for a special committee consisting of them, their lawyers, the prime minister and the public prosecution team to make sure that all obstacles to fair and immediate trials are removed. The also called for the minister of interior's dismissal.
"The committee's aim is to stop those trading with the blood of the martyrs," said Mohamed Gommaa, head of the popular committee of the martyrs' families. "Instead of stopping the policemen implicated in killing the martyrs, the ministers of interior gave them privileges."
Demands also included a formal apology from the Ministry of Interior to the Egyptian people and martyrs' families acknowledging the violations committed by police during the revolution, and that the martyrs get a special recognition as war martyrs do.
Broadcasting the trials on television without prior permission from judges was also demanded.
"Our demands are not impossible or illegal. The crux of the law is justice and respect of rights, and we only demand respect for the rights of our children," read the final line of the statement.