Compliance with the Constitutional Declaration of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces

April 11th, 2011 by Editor

The Egyptian Organization for Human Right Calls for the Retrial of

Michael Nabil before the Natural Judge

The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) expresses its deep concern regarding the trial of civilians before military courts. The military court of Al Hai Al Asher sentenced blogger “Michael Nabil” to 3 years in case number 18 for the year 2011, misdemeanor division. EOHR calls for a retrial before the natural judge and to further abolish the practice of prosecuting civilians before military courts in cases of opinion, publishing, organization and peaceful gathering. 

Nabil was arrested on Monday, 28/3/2011, from his house in Ain Shams. An investigation was conducted with him regarding his charges which are: insulting the military institution, publishing false news on this institution and attempting to disturb public order. He was then referred to the military prosecution. The referral decision came as follows:

  • 1- He insulted the military and its different divisions in public verbally and implicitly through publishing some articles on his website on the internet which is settled in the incrimination report.

2- He deliberately broadcasted false data and rumors as he intentionally spread news and data on his website about the armed forces and its members which is punishable by articles 102, 171, 184 of the penal code, 156 and 216 of the criminal procedures law. As such the prosecution referred the defendant to the high military court.

In that regard, EOHR points out that the trial of Michael Nabil because of what he published on his blog is considered a publishing crime. Also his sentence is considered a penalty involving a loss of liberty which does not fall under the jurisdiction of the military courts. EOHR thus calls for his immediate release and retrial before the natural judge because the trial violates the provisions of the constitutional declaration issued by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces which guarantees the right to the freedom of opinion and expression and the right to be tried before the natural judge according to articles 12 and 21[1]. This also falls under Egypt’s obligations under the international human rights conventions. The trial of Nabil also represents a dangerous violation of the right to fair trial protected under the constitution and the international human rights conventions. As such several rights associated with the right to free trial were violated in the case of Nabil including the right of the accused to prepare their defense and the right of the defense to view the documents of the case and to meet with their clients in private. Also such trials do not acknowledge subjecting defendants to torture. In addition to all that, military courts are considered special courts for civilians.

Nabil was arrested by the armed forces on the 4th of February, 2011 on his way out of Tahrir Square. His detention continued for two days after which he was released. He was detained once more on the 28th of last March and he was referred to military prosecution office.


[1] Article 12: The state guarantees the freedom of creed, and the freedom to practice religious rites.  Freedom of opinion is also guaranteed, and every person has the right to express his opinion and publish it in spoken, written, photographed, or other form within the confines of the law.  Personal criticism and constructive criticism are a guarantee for the safety of national development.

Article 21: Litigation is a safeguarded and guaranteed right for all people, and every citizen has the right to resort to his natural judge.  The state guarantees close association of judicial apparatuses with litigants, in addition to a speedy trial of matters.  The text of the law forbids any action or administrative decision from being absolved  of judicial oversight. 



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