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Trial of soldiers accused of killing Maspero protesters adjourned to 31 May

Al-Masry Al-Youm

Coptic protesters and military forces clash at Radio and Television building "Maspiro", Cairo, October 9,2011. Clashes erupted between Copts and military forces, which resulted in dozens of injuries, and 22 killed.

Photographed by Mohamed Hossam Eddin

A military court adjourned Thursday evening the trial of three soldiers accused of killing protesters in front of the Maspero state television building last October to 31 May. The court will continue hearing defense witnesses at that time.

Nearly 30 protesters were killed and hundreds were injured on 9 October when military forces violently broke up a Coptic-led demonstration in front of Maspero. At least 14 people were crushed by armored military vehicles, which were seen mowing protesters down in videos spread on the internet.

The soldiers are charged with manslaughter. Their lawyer, Munir Ramadan, spoke to the press about the testimony of a captain who was responsible for the armored vehicles surrounding the Maspero building.

Ramadan said the captain stressed in his testimony that a number of protesters threatened the armed forces securing the building, saying, “Just wait until Shubra residents come; they will cut you into pieces.”

The captain added that the clashes began after a march of thousands arrived to Maspero and some demonstrators lit a jeep belonging to the armed forces on fire. He also alleged that protesters stole a machine gun and four automatic weapons from an armored vehicle.

In his testimony, the captain claimed that the soldiers in armored vehicles were attacked by a large number of protesters and were trying to escape after one soldier was killed and more were wounded.

The captain added that demonstrators had lowered the protective shield on the windshield of an armored vehicle, blocking the driver’s vision.

Military forces accused of killing protesters at Maspero are being tried in military courts while civilian defendants accused of assaulting military personnel have been referred to the state security prosecutor.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm


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