Egypt rights groups denounce military trials of civilians

Ahram Online, AFP, Tuesday 10 Sep 2013

Egyptian NGOs urge interim president to prohibit military trials of civilians after military court sentences dozens of Morsi supporters in Suez

Four Egyptian rights groups on Monday denounced the military trials of civilians accused of attacking soldiers, saying the army had convicted more than 60 people since president Mohamed Morsi's ouster.

The NGOs urged interim president Adly Mansour, who was appointed following Morsi's removal, to "immediately amend the law to prohibit trials of civilians by military tribunals."

The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, No to Military Trials of Civilians, and two other groups also demanded a new civil trial for 51 Islamists sentenced by the military last week to prison terms ranging from 5 to 25 years.

On Tuesday, a military court handed down a life sentence to a Muslim Brotherhood member, sentenced 50 to jail for attacking soldiers in the city of Suez and acquitted 12 others, according to the rights groups.

It delivered the verdict after just two hearings. 

The verdict came two months after the 3 July ouster of Morsi, who has been held at an unknown location ever since.

During a television interview last Tuesday, Mansour said "no civilian was recently tried by a military tribunal."

But local NGOs say there have been at least two other military trials, with a total of 10 civilians sentenced to two years in prison at separate hearings for carrying out attacks on troops on 24 July.

Egypt's new authorities have launched a massive crackdown against supporters of Mohamed Morsi, with hundreds of arrest warrants issued for members of the Brotherhood to which he belongs.

More than 1,000 people have been killed and upwards of 2,000 Brotherhood members detained in the crackdown.

The Brotherhood's Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie is also on trial charged with "inciting murder." His trial resumes on 29 October.

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