Last updated: 7 March, 2012

Leading Egyptians accused of harming military’s image

Military prosecutors are to decide whether to take action over a complaint against 12 leading Egyptians accused of harming the army’s image and seeking to overthrow the state, judicial sources said on Wednesday.

Among those named were Wael Ghonim, the Google executive who administered the Facebook page that helped spark Egypt’s revolution and internationally acclaimed writer Alaa al-Aswany.

A decision on the complaint, backed by 700 people, will be made after prosecutors interview the plaintiff and examine documents submitted, the source said.

The 12 are also accused of “provoking discord.”

Among them are female presidential candidate Bothain Kamel, television presenters Rim Magued and Yosri Foda, as well as pro-democracy militants George Ishaq, Nawara Negm and Asmaa Mahfuz.

No specifics were given on what they were all alleged to have done.

The latest case illustrates the tension in Egypt, where the military took power last year when president Hosni Mubarak stepped down. The military is criticised by pro-democracy advocates as having badly managed the transition and suppressed freedom of speech, but is defended from other quarters as being a force for stability.

In particular, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces has been criticised for putting thousands of civilians on trial before military courts.

Among them, prominent blogger Maikel Nabil was sentenced to three years in jail for criticising the military, before he was eventually freed.