Protest cases to be tried in regular, not military court: Egypt’s Constitutional Court

El-Sayed Gamal El-Din , Saturday 14 Oct 2017

Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court (Photo: AFP)

Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court ruled on Saturday that protest-related cases fall under the jurisdiction of the regular judiciary, not military courts.

The court’s ruling was in response to six cases submitted by the State Lawsuits Authority to determine which judicial authority should review cases involving illegal protest and obstructing roads in Upper Egypt's Beni Suef.

The Beni Suef cases were the subject of a judicial dispute between the regular criminal court and the military court in the governorate.

The Constitutional Court said in its reasoning that the defendants were to be tried in regular court given that they are not members of the Armed Forces and their crimes did not involve public institutions or properties.

The defendants face charges of illegal protest, disrupting public security, obstruction of traffic and endangering citizens’ interests, as well as the possession of fireworks, weapons and signs inciting against the state.  

Many of those arrested also face charges of thuggery, using force or belonging to illegal groups.

Earlier this year, the Egyptian parliament approved an amendment to a controversial article of the protest law which allowed the interior ministry to cancel or change the location of any protest deemed a threat to security.

The amendment requires the ministry to ask permission from a court, based on evidence or information that the protest poses a security threat, before it can disperse or change its location.

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