Only witness to alleged army killing shot in Cairo
Egyptian police say they have arrested a suspect and identified his accomplices in a shooting in Cairo’s Tahrir Square that left activist Mohannad Samir with critical head wounds and compelled the cancellation of new year’s celebrations.
Sharaf Fathy (29) is a restaurateur and owner of the car used in the assault. He claimed he had fired at activists after they had stopped and searched his vehicle and shot at him. The police say they have identified his companions.
Witnesses to Monday’s shooting reported that several gunmen had arrived in the square, the cradle of the 2011 uprising, as activists camping on the traffic circle and verges of the road slept.
Fired at random
The assailants, wearing civilian clothing, alighted from a red Dodge car, spoke to street vendors, opened fire at random and then aimed directly at Mr Samir, who was hit in the head and neck by shotgun pellets or, some reports say, rubber bullets.
Shotguns were the weapon of choice of agents of the largely unreformed internal security services that tried to crush the 18-day uprising that toppled president Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.
Last year there were numerous shotgun shootings at activists camping out in the square; last month violent Muslim Brotherhood elements used shotguns to attack demonstrators holding a peaceful sit-in outside the presidential palace protesting against President Mohamed Morsi’s policies.
Ten people were killed.
Mr Samir (19), a member of the vanguard April 6th movement, is the only witness to the killing, allegedly by an army officer, of colleague Rami El-Sharkrawi during clashes outside the cabinet offices in December 2011.
At least 19 died and scores were wounded when troops dispersed a three-week sit-in against the military which took power following the fall of Hosni Mubarak.
At that time, Mr Samir and 268 other protesters were jailed on charges of assaulting soldiers and policemen and burning the Scientific Institute next to the cabinet offices. He claimed he was tortured while in captivity.
Egypt’s chief prosecutor Talaat Abdullah, recently appointed by Mr Morsi, has initiated an investigation into comedian Bassem Youssef following an accusation that he had insulted Mr Morsi and other key politicians, humiliating them on the international scene. The petition has been filed by a lawyer affiliated to the Muslim Brotherhood, Mr Morsi’s political base.
Bearded Mickey Mouse
The lawyer, Ramadan Abdel Hamid El-Oksory, who lodged the allegation against Mr Youssef, previously issued a complaint against wealthy Coptic Christian businessman Naguib Swiris, founder of the post-uprising liberal Free Egyptians Party, for a tweet portrayal of conservative Muslims as a bearded Mickey Mouse and veiled Minnie Mouse.
Numerous complaints have been filed against media personalities critical of Mr Morsi and the Brotherhood-dominated regime, raising concerns over freedom of expression during the movement’s rule.
Egyptians are famous for mocking their politicians as a means of easing their frustration with autocrats.
Mr Mubarak was often portrayed as La Vache Qui Rit because of his resemblance to the laughing cow on the package of processed cheese of that brand.