But even as citizens accuse those connected with the former president of subverting the revolution, the very institution in charge of transitioning to a more democratic Egypt – the Army – has been acting quite unrevolutionary itself. Replicating Mubarak-era policies, the Army has severely beaten protesters on at least two occasions in the past week, and since Jan. 28 has been trying civilian protesters in military courts, denying them basic rights.
During February, thousands of civilian protesters were arrested, denied civilian lawyers or even the chance to telephone their families, given trials as short as five minutes, and sentenced to prison, says Adel Ramadan, a lawyer with the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights. The convictions, often coming only three days after arrest, range from six months to 15 years and cannot be appealed.
“From a human rights perspective, we see the submission of civilians to a military justice system as one of the most problematic things to emerge in this period of time,” says Priyanka Motaparthy of Human Rights Watch (HRW) in Cairo. “These are civilian protesters, they're being interrogated in the presence of military lawyers that the military prosecution has appointed. They're not being given access to civilian lawyers.… Once they've been sentenced, there's no appeals process.”
Thugs out in force again
One of the hallmarks of the security apparatus during the Mubarak era was its use of plainclothes thugs against protesters. Such attackers were unleashed upon peaceful demonstrators during the revolution on Feb. 2, in what was one of the bloodiest days of fighting.