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Middle East
Egyptian army questions blogger and TV host
Move follows televised comments accusing military official of instigating abuses against civilians.
Last Modified: 31 May 2011 20:15
Hossam el-Hamalawy made his accusations on a popular television programme 

An Egyptian blogger and a television presenter have been briefly questioned by Egypt's military over comments that implicated a military official in abuses against civilians.

Hossam el-Hamalawy said he was ordered to appear before military prosecutors on Tuesday after comments he made on a television programme accusing the head of the military police of instigating abuses.

He made his comments last Thursday on a popular television programme on a private station. Reem Maged, the programme's presenter, was also summoned for questioning, he said.

El-Hamalawy said officials asked him to clarify his accusations and make a formal complaint backed up with evidence.

"They told me they look into all complaints they receive and act if they turn out to be true. But I told them that many complaints against the military police have been filed and there were no results," he was quoted by the Reuters news agency as saying.

Egypt's military took power after a popular uprising toppled Hosni Mubarak, the long-time Egyptian president, on February 11, vowing to "protect the revolution" from allies of the deposed leader.

But the governing Armed Forces Supreme Council has has come under increasing pressure from the protest movement and political groups for its management of the transitional period following Mubarak's fall.

Authorities criticised

Critics say the military has been slow to uproot former regime officials and has often put civilians on military trial. Reformers also criticise the military council's reaction to criticism.

Two journalists and a potential presidential candidate have been summoned for interrogation for their comments about the military.

A large rally called, "Egypt's second revolution", was organised on Friday, primarily to push the military to heed the demands of the protesters.

Also on Tuesday, authorities questioned Nabil Sharaf el-Din, a journalist, Gamal Eid, a human rights lawyer, said.

Sharaf el-Din appeared on the same station as el-Hamalawy on Friday, saying the military rulers' handling of the transition raises questions about whether they had struck a deal with the country's powerful Muslim Brotherhood.

A member of the military council phoned in, denying the accusations.

Human rights groups say that following Mubarak's fall, Egyptian authorities have continued to restrict freedom of assembly, torture detainees and try civilians in military courts.

Amnesty International has said many protesters arrested during the 18-day uprising against Mubarak reported abuse by soldiers. The rights organisation is calling for an official investigation.

The army has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing against "honourable citizens" and said only criminals were arrested and tried.

Source:
Agencies
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