Egyptian lawyer files complaint against former military head

CAIRO Thu Aug 23, 2012 12:16pm EDT

Retired former Egyptian Defence Minister Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi (L) receives a high medal ''The Nile Collar'' from Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi at the Presidential Palace in Cairo August 14, 2012. REUTERS/Egyptian Presidency/Handout

Retired former Egyptian Defence Minister Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi (L) receives a high medal ''The Nile Collar'' from Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi at the Presidential Palace in Cairo August 14, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Egyptian Presidency/Handout

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CAIRO (Reuters) - An Egyptian lawyer said on Thursday he had filed the first legal complaint against Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, the former head of the military council, accusing him of killing protesters and wasting public money.

Many activists and rights groups have blamed security and police officials for the killing of hundreds in protests after president Hosni Mubarak was ousted on February 11 last year.

In one incident last February, 74 Egyptians were killed after violence erupted during a soccer game. Many accused the army and security forces of failing to prevent it.

Lawyer Assem Kandil said he had filed a complaint against Tantawi, head of the military police Hamdy Badeen, and other former police officials with the public prosecutor on Wednesday.

"I did so because I accuse them all of killing protesters during the series of bloody protests in Egypt following last year's uprising along with wasting public money in the state's spending on the parliamentary election," he added.

Egypt's last parliamentary vote held from November 2011 to January this year was supervised by the military council that Tantawi was leading.

Former interior ministers Mohammed Ibrahim and Mansour el-Essawy, who were both appointed by military-led governments, were also included in Kandil's complaint.

Egypt's Islamist President Mohamed Mursi this month dismissed Tantawi, who was also defense minister, along with other top military and police officials after an attack blamed on Islamist militants killed 16 Egyptian border guards.

The move was praised by many activists and Egyptians who were not happy to see the security leaders who had served for decades with Mubarak remain in their posts after he was gone. Tantawi, 76, served as Mubarak's defense minister for 20 years.

It was unclear whether Egyptian prosecutors would take up the case after the lawyer's complaint. The public prosecutor was not immediately available for comment.

(Reporting by Yasmine Saleh and Ehab Farouk; Editing by Myra MacDonald)

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