Egypt’s ruling military makes promises to No to Military Trials campaigners

Salma Shukrallah, Tuesday 14 Jun 2011

Egypt's ruling military council promises for the second time to review cases of four citizens tried in military courts, but their previous inaction leaves activists skeptical they will heed anger on virginity tests and torture

No to Military Trials
No to Military Trials campaigner Mona Seif

Activists in the No to Military Trials movement met with members of Egypt’s ruling Supreme Council of the Military Forces (SCAF) on Monday and state there was a list of the promises that came from that meeting.

Campaign members say they presented the two military officials they met several demands, including: the release of youth detained during the revolution and put on military trial that the SCAF had previously stated they would reinvestigate; putting an end to the military trials of all civilians; referring the cases of civilians who have already been remanded to military courts to instead be retried by a civil judge and, lastly, investigating allegations of torture by military police.

Activist Mona Seif says the meeting touched on our demands and focused on several cases of ongoing military trials of civilians, most recent of which is that of the Petrojet workers, who were arrested for going on strike. She added that the military promised that they would look into the cases of the workers currently facing military tribunals.

Seif said that they provided the military council members with evidence of torture by the military police and stressed that such cases need to be investigated, regardless whether the victims were brave enough to report the torture. She adds that they have witnesses ready to testify.

Seif added that the meeting ended with several promises, which she hopes to see materialise, including reinvestigating the cases of the four “revolution youth,” which Seif explained the SCAF defined as those who were arrested during demonstrations. These include Amr El-Beheiry, Mohamed Adel, Abu El-Maaty Hamed and Mohamed El-Saied.

“The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces had already released a statement before our meeting stating they would reinvestigate [certain] cases, including that of Mohamed Adel, but nothing happened,” says Seif.  

Other promises included reviewing the case of the Petrojet workers currently facing military trials, which the campaign members insisted should not be tried before military courts.

They were also told that the SCAF would consider their proposal to refer all cases against civilians who have been tried in military courts to a civil judge, who would look into them and file to a comprehensive report to SCAF.

Allegations of torture by military police will also be investigated, according to the military council members who attended the meeting.

Finally, the campaign members were given the contact information of a military judiciary official to have direct communication and to facilitate the filing of any complaints.

However, the military council members have confirmed in the meeting that virginity tests have been conducted on arrested women, as alleged, and added that this is a common procedure in military prisons to avoid rape accusations.

Seif added that the on air statements of Hassan El-Reweiny, one of the SCAF members they met on Monday, implied that the only issue discussed was the release of the four revolution youth. However, Seif added that the No to Military Trials campaign will release a complete meeting report and clarify the other important issues.

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