Renowned novelist, El-Aswany, and potential presidential candidate, Abu Ismael, rip into military trials

Ahram Online, Tuesday 16 Aug 2011

Alaa El-Aswany and Hazem Salah Abu Ismael heavily criticise the use of military courts to try civilians

Alaa EL Aswany, author of the Yacoubian Building and Chicago, criticized the military trials of civilians.

Egyptian author and activist, Alaa El-Aswayny, sharply attacked military trials of civilians and demanded that the political forces put their differences aside to put a stop to these trials.

He wrote on his twitter account: “Why don’t they put the murderers of protesters on trial in front of a military court? Is it logical that the protesters are tried in military courts, while Mubarak and his mafia get a civil trial?”

El-Aswany’s harsh words come in light of the interrogation of activist, Asmaa Mahfouz, who slandered the military in one of her Facebook statuses. Mahfouz, a member of the 6th of April Movement, was interrogated by military prosecution officers on 14 August and is facing action for her criticism of the military. A teary Mahfouz appeared with talk show host, Youssry Fouda on his programme, Akher Kalam after she was released on bail. She had demanded to know why she was facing a military trial for writing her opinion on her personal Facebook page, while Mubarak and his cronies are being tried in civil courts despite their crimes.

The trend of putting civilians on military trials has been growing steadily since 11 February, with 12 thousand civilians believed to have been transferred to military courts in the past six months. This trend is aggravating many who believe that giving civilians military trials violates the values of the January 25 revolution.

El-Aswany argues that the military trials also violate international agreements that Egypt has ratified because they are currently being used to pressure those who oppose the military council. El-Aswany believes it is unfortunate that in post-revolution Egypt, civilians have been subjected to this; saying it shows that people could lose a few years of their lives, stuck in military prisons, just because they joined a peaceful protest.

Possible presidential candidate, Hazem Salah Abu Ismael, also criticised the military trials, announcing that he will remain an “enemy” of the military council while they continue to send civilians to military courts. He also accused the council of continuing to protect members of the Mubarak regime.

Ismael also sent his support to Asmaa Mahfouz.On his official Facebook page, Ismael released a statement titled; We are all Asmaa Mahfouz, where he wrote that the interrogation of Mahfouz by the military prosecution made his blood boil.

“If the regime does not give people their rights, then they should not be angry if people go out and get their own vengeance,” Mahfouz said.

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