July 27th, 2011 by Editor
The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) held an open discussion on Tuesday, July 26, 2011, at 12 pm, in EOHR premises. “When military trials for civilians stop” workshop was attended by representatives of the Egyptian political parties, university professors, parliamentary members, human rights’ activists and media specialists.
Legal experts and political parties call for the immediate stop of referring civilians to the military courts. The military courts have to handle only the lawsuits of the military staff members. So, those civilians who were judged by the military courts have to be immediately released. All the political powers called for the cancellation of the emergency law and the emergency status that lasted for three decades. This demand was one of the most important inducements of the revolution.
Mr. Hafez Abu Seada, the head of EOHR, emphasized that referring civilians to the military courts is entirely unacceptable. It is also refused by all the Egyptian political powers. It does not comply with the principals of fair a transparent trial. The forcible detention steering group in the United Nations stated that in case of keeping the military judiciary working, it should not be handling the lawsuits of the civilians. In cases like strike or any danger against the democratic system, the military courts should not handle both military and civilian people. Death penalty should not be given by the military courts, under any conditions.
Abu Seada also added that referring civilians to the military courts does not comply with the standards of the independence of judiciary and fair trial. The military courts are supervised by the military trial department in the Minister of Defense. The military judges are appointed with a decision of the Minister of Defense for two years, renewable, which means that the military judges are not independent. The military judges come under all the military laws and rules.
Dr. Ibrahim Darwish, the legal expert, stated that Egypt faces many difficulties in this period of time on the political and legal levels. Nobody now can provide any future expectations about the Egyptian affairs. He emphasized that referring civilians to the military courts does not comply with their rights of fair trial before the natural judges. Martial laws came to Egypt after the ottoman ruling and continued under the British ruling the turned to the military law after 1952 revolution. Finally, Dr. Ibrahim called for the immediate cancelation of both the emergency law and the military trials for civilians.
Mr. Ahmed Abdel Hafez, attorney at law, stated that the military courts handle the urgent lawsuits that belong to the state security. So, the military courts must not be judging civilians, because of the absence of all the standards of fair trial. Naturally, all the civilians’ lawsuits now discussed by the military courts must be referred to the natural judiciary. He also wondered why we cannot cancel all the aspects of the exceptional trials, based on Revolutionary legitimacy.
The meeting witnessed many testimonies provided by those people who refered to military trials, including people from Ezbet Awlad Abu Al Lail, Esmo Al Aros, Der Moas, Minia Governorate. The meeting also the testimony of Mohamed Mahmoud Sobhi.
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