Referral of Ultras Zamalkawy fans to the military judiciary Violation of the right to a fair trial

July 27th, 2017 by Editor

Referral of Ultras Zamalkawy fans to the military judiciary Violation of the right to a fair trial

 West Alexandria prosecution decided on Thursday, 27/7/2017 to refer case No. 9924 for the year 2017 misdemeanors Amriya second where 235 fans of Zamalek Club are accused of destroying  Borg Al Arab stadium`s bleachers to the Military Prosecution.

The prosecution has charged the accused with accusations of belonging to a group that is founded contrary to the provisions of the law “Ultras Zamalkawy “, preventing state institutions from operating, acquiring and possessing explosives (Shamarikh), using them to threaten and endanger the lives of persons which led to injuries. Moreover, the prosecution accused them of beating policemen and resisting them during performing their duty and damaging public property.

The facts of the case began in the riots that took place in the vicinity of Borg Al Arab Stadium in Alexandria following the match between Zamalek and Libyan Ahly Tripoli in the African Champions League, which ended in a positive draw between the teams and exit of the Egyptian team from the championship, followed by riots and damage in the contents of the stadium. The technical committee that was formed to reckon the damages that resulted from these events has concluded that these works led to the destruction of about 400 chairs, as well as damage to four external gates.

Whereas the Organization considers that what has happened should bring charges to the perpetrators of such acts, they must be tried before their natural judge as the right to a fair trial is one of the fundamental human rights guaranteed by international human rights instruments and conventions. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights stipulates in article (10) that “Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him and stipulates in article (11) clause (1) that “everyone has had all the guarantees necessary for his defense in tribunals”. The UN Convention on Civil and Political Rights stressed on article (14) that: “All persons shall be equal before the courts and tribunals. In the determination of any criminal charge against him, or of his rights and obligations in a suit at law, everyone shall be entitled to a fair and public hearing by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal established by law…”

Therefore, the Organization considers that referral of these defendants to military trial is a violation of their most basic rights: the right to a fair trial, the right to be brought before a natural court not to be tried before military courts.

Hence, the organization calls upon the Public Prosecution to refer these defendants to the natural courts and not to try them before the military courts as it represents a blatant violation of the right  to a fair trial. Moreover, the Organization calls for amending the legislation relating to the status of military facilities by changing the status of some military places that provide services to the ordinary public such as; stadiums, petrol stations belonging to the armed forces, as well as supermarkets, which provide services to the ordinary public because these facilities bear the character of civil services. Consequently, civilians cannot be legally tried for what they have done in a military facility, provided that criminal courts shall exercise their jurisdiction in these crimes.

Dr. Hafez Abu Seada, Chairman of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights, said that the military judiciary does not provide guarantees for the fair trial that is required for the trial of civilians and that appearance of civilians before military courts violates the principle of independence of the judiciary and deprives citizens of the right to appear before their natural judge.

Abo Seada added that the military trials of civilians are considered flagrant violations of international laws, including the African Charter on Human and Peoples ‘Rights (1981), which was ratified by Egypt in (1984) where The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights stated that “civilians should never face military trials.”

Abo Seada called for the government to fulfill its obligations under the international agreements signed and ratified by Egypt as well as its obligations to the International Council for Human Rights to provide guarantees of fair trial, including non-referral of civilians before military courts.



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