- Life Style
Egypt's military prosecution has charged three army personnel with the "involuntary manslaughter" of 14 civilians in October, a local human rights group said on Monday.
The killings occurred on 9 October during the bloody clashes between armed forces and protesters following a majority Coptic march outside the Maspero building in Cairo. Twenty-seven protesters and one soldier died in the violence.
The trials of the three soldiers will begin on Tuesday, according to a statement by the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR).
The three defendants are 21-year-olds Mahmoud Suleiman and Karam Hamed and 22-year-old Mahmoud Taha, EIPR said.
The group said the three personnel belong to the central military command, led by Major General Hassan al-Ruweiny, a member of Egypt's ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces(SCAF).
The charge filed against the men is a misdemeanor carrying a maximum prison sentence of seven years, EIPR said.
EIPR’s statement said prosecution of the three men further illuminates the SCAF's refusal to admit responsibility for the deaths at Maspero. It also accused the ruling military council of seeking to shield its troops from accountability.
Military prosecutors accuse the three soldiers of negligence, saying they "did not bear in mind their responsibilities as drivers of military armored vehicles," adding that the soldiers "drove the vehicles haphazardly, in a way that was not appropriate on a road packed with protesters.”
While eye-witnesses and human rights groups have accused army personnel of mowing down the Maspero protesters with armored vehicles, and footage of this incident has widely circulated on the internet, SCAF members held a press conference on 12 October in which they claimed that the deaths were a mistake, accusing protesters of assaulting security and military forces.
Translated from Al-Masry Al-Youm