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EGYPT: Activists to sue ruling generals over treason accusations

July 26, 2011 | 11:23 am

Mohamed Hussein Tantawi

Two of Egypt’s most prominent political movements have announced they will sue the ruling Supreme Council of Armed Forces for “libel and false accusations" over comments made by a senior army official suggesting the organizations were receiving foreign funding and were involved in treason.  

The announcement by the April 6th Youth Movement and Kefaya came two days after a statement issued by the Supreme Council of Armed Forces accused a number of political movements, specifically April 6th, of having hidden agendas and working against the country’s interests. The military blamed April 6th for "igniting strife between the army and the people."

The military added: “SCAF calls on all sects of the people to remain cautious and not to be led by such a suspicious plot, which aims to undermine Egypt’s stability.”

April 6th's financial coordinator, Rami Sweify, told the independent channel Tahrir TV on Monday evening that his organization will file reports to General Prosecutor Abdel Maguid Mahmoud against “those who’ve doubted the group’s sources of funding.”

SCAF member Gen. Hassan Roweini had told Egyptian media that April 6th -- one of the organizers of the recent protests in Tahrir Square in Cairo -- was being funded by foreign entities, including the U.S.-based Freedom House.  Roweini added that the Kefaya movement was also being sponsored by foreign organizations with political agendas in Egypt.

The allegations were refuted by Kefaya spokesman Abdel Halim Kandil, who said his movement filed a report calling for Roweini to be interrogated over his comments. He said the general should issue a public apology. April 6th member activist Israa Abdel Fattah said that the movement has asked for an inquiry to prove its funding sources are Egyptian-based.

Roweini’s comments were met with dismay among Egyptian political activists and parties, including the Muslim Brotherhood. The government of toppled President Hosni Mubarak often relied on the tactic of painting opposition groups as foreign agents. Eryan, the Brotherhood's top official, said that he rejects "any attempts of treason without proof" against a well-respected movement such as April 6th.

-- Amro Hassan in Cairo

Photo: Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, leader of the ruling military council. Credit: Reuters

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