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Egyptian groups condemn military trials for civilians


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Egyptian groups condemn military trials for civilians

2011-08-17 02:56:17 GMT+7 (ICT)

CAIRO (BNO NEWS) -- Several political groups and public figures on Tuesday condemned Egypt's military trials of civilians after a prominent activist was arrested and referred to a military court on charges of insulting the Armed Forces, the Al-Ahram state-owned newspaper reported.

Egyptian military prosecution officers on Sunday detained and interrogated activist Asmaa Mahfouz, who is accused of inciting violence against the military and insulting members of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. She was summoned by the military prosecution on Tuesday after being released on a 20,000 Egyptian pounds ($3,355) bail on Sunday.

The military's action against Mahfouz has angered many, reviving support for the campaign against the military trials of civilians. According to the No to Military Trials Campaign, more than 10,000 civilians have received prison sentences through military prosecution in the past six months.

Mahfouz is not the first activist to be tried in a military court, however. Activists arrested during demonstrations and sit-ins were tried by the military and some received prison sentences, varying between six months and five years in length.

The case prompted previously silent groups, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, to speak out. The Deputy Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mahmoud Ezzat, argued that the military trials are unconstitutional and violate the United Nation's declaration of human rights, the newspaper reported.

According to the organization's official website, Ezzat said that the Brotherhood have been harmed in the past by the military trials of civilians and that hundreds of its members have been put in prison as a result. He added that after the revolution, such trials should no longer exist.

Presidential candidate Mohamed ElBaradei also condemned the trials and warned that the path to democracy is being hampered. He wrote on his twitter account: "Military trials for young activists, while Mubarak & Co. stand before civilian courts, is a legal farce. Don't abort the revolution."

Several of those arrested during clashes at Cairo's Tahrir Square in late June were also being interrogated by the military prosecution on Sunday. In addition, clashes erupted between families of those killed during the January 25 Revolution and Central Security Forces between June 28 and 29.

According to Amnesty International, at least 840 people were killed and over 6,000 people were injured in the violent repression that took place during the January uprising. Activists and protesters have been asking for the prosecution of those implicated in the killings of protesters.

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-- © BNO News All rights reserved 2011-08-17

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