Release all civilians convicted in military courts: Activists remind Egypt's Morsi

Ahram Online, Saturday 18 Aug 2012

Protesters turn the pressure on President Morsi to fulfill his promise to release those who faced military trials urging him to send them home to their loved ones by Eid holiday on Sunday

Military Trials
Egyptian activists with stickers that read: "No to military trials for civilians" at a rally (Photo: AP)

Activists in Cairo on Friday pressed President Mohamed Morsi to "Let them spend Eid in their homes," referring to his promise to release all citizens convicted by the military since the 25 January revolution started. Eid is the holiday that ends Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting, and is coming up on Sunday.

Dozens participated in the silent sit-ins and human chains at the Al-Nour Mosque, Abbasiya, including the influential April 6th youth movement, No to Military Trials campaign, the Salafist Salafyo Costa and Imsek Felul (a campaign who aims to point out who the remnants of the former regime are) and other non-affiliated protesters.

President Morsi had set up a committee to look into each prisoner's case to help him fulfill his promise to release anyone proven to be jailed for taking part in protests.

Before Ramadan began, President Mohamed Morsi issued a decree for the release of 572 prisoners followed by another wave where he pardoned 581 prisoners on Friday in celebration of the Eid El-Fitr holiday.

While the protest demanded the release all those arrested during protests, activists emphasised the need to release minors and the military officers who joined protests against the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) in April, 2011 known as "the officers of the 8th of April."

One such case of a civilian facing military trials is Mohamed El-Dakrouri, a street vendor who was arrested during clashes outside of Egypt's ministry of defence in Abbasiya following a week-long sit-in that began on 2 May.

El-Dakrouri, who was sent to Torah Prison was punished by being sent to Al-Notron Prison, further from his family, after the Doctor's Association of Tahrir on Monday, who played a critical role in aiding the injured during clashes in protests, checked on his and other prisoners' health.

Former presidential candidate, the Nasserist Hamdeen Sabbahi also demanded their release during a conference in northern Egypt's Gharbiya governorate. He considered it a national duty in support of the revolution and announced he established a coalition called The Popular Current.

The leftist candidate urged for the release of those detained during the time SCAF was officially in power.

The general coordinator of the Revolution's Youth Union and member of the Constituent Assembly, Mohamed Saeed, insisted that the president needs to fulfil his promises and release all civilians facing military trials.

"The president said that no one will see injustice on his watch. He and the Muslim Brotherhood need to remember that it is those detained youth that preserved the revolution when the Brotherhood abandoned it," reads Saeed's statement. 

A total of 11,879 Egyptians have been detained by the military since last year's uprising, according to figures issued by the committee. Of these, 9,714 have since been released.

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