CAIRO: Families of army officers jailed for joining Tahrir demonstrators on April 8 protested Monday in front of the Journalists’ Syndicate demanding the immediate release of their sons, who began a hunger strike three days ago.
"Our sons are on hunger strike demanding to be released since maltreatment inside the military prison has intensified against them, and in support of the revolutionaries who mark the first anniversary [of Jan. 25]," said mother of Major Mohamed Omar, who was sentenced to three and a half years in a military prison.
"The commander of the military prison beat my son after claiming my son had a mobile phone with him," the mother said. "My son was humiliated with no consideration whatsoever to the fact that he is still an army officer," she added.
Twenty army officers, who joined demonstrators in Tahrir, were arrested after a bloody crackdown on the square at dawn of April 9. Two more were arrested the night before mass protests planned for May 27.
The officers received two- to three-year prison sentences after being charged with lowering the morale of the armed forces. They received six more months in another case of libel and defamation against military prison commander when they declined to eat a meal they claimed had insects in it. Their families, however, claim this charge was fabricated.
The officers’ are detained in different areas, and their families say this is to prevent them from organizing any solidarity marches in front of the prison.
"We have met with members of the ruling military council and we were promised to hear good news about them very soon. Since then we’ve only heard bad news," mother of Major Tamer Badr told Daily News Egypt.
"The ruling military council claimed to have protected the revolution, so did our sons, why imprison them then?" she wondered, criticizing plans to award honorary medals to army officers for protecting the revolution on the anniversary of Jan. 25 while others are jailed for the same cause.
A press conference was due to be held at the Lawyers’ Syndicate in solidarity with the jailed officers, where a request to release them was due to be handed to parliament member Yahia El-Fakharany, but the presser was cancelled without disclosing the reasons.