News24

Egypt army to release detained activists

2011-05-13 20:33

Cairo - Egypt's ruling military council said on Friday it would release all activists arrested during March and April protests.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces said "measures will be taken to immediately release all those honourable youth of the revolution who were detained during March and April," in a statement on its Facebook page.

Protests have continued in Cairo's Tahrir Square since the February 11 overthrow of president Hosni Mubarak.

The army, hailed as heroes during the beginning of the uprising for not firing on protesters, later came under criticism over the arrest of activists and allegations of abuse.

One person was killed and over 70 injured during a crackdown in April against protesters calling for the resignation of the head of the military council, Hussein Tantawi, who took power when Mubarak.

The military moved into the square on April 9 after tens of thousands who rallied were joined by dissident army officers.

The army has denied abusing protesters, but human rights groups have accused it of beating detainees and forcing virginity tests on women demonstrators it arrested when clearing another protest in the square in March.

A general on the ruling council had said the soldiers did not "use violence and thuggery" and warned Egyptians to ignore "accusations and slander... that only serve the revolution's enemies".

The military has also drawn diplomatic flak for sentencing a blogger to three years in prison this week after he posted criticism.