8 January 2013

Egypt: The First Civilian to Appear Before a Military Court, After the Approval of the New Constitution

Photo: Amr Emam/IRIN
The Rafah Border crossing on the border between Egypt and the Gaza.

press release

ANHRI denounces the arrest of the journalist and the blogger Mohamed Sabri, on the after noon of last Friday, by the military forces during his presences in Rafah to shoot a press report related to the murder of the Egyptian soldiers on the borders. ANHRI also denounces sending him to the Military prosecution which sent him in about 24 hours to the military court in Ismailia.

The journalist Mohamed Sabri, the responsible for the website of "4Sinai", have appeared before the military court in Ismailia after one day from appearing before the military prosecution without the attendance of his lawyer. In addition to, no one of his family members was able to see or to talk him. He was accused of trespassing on a military zone and taking pictures of it. The court in its hearing, which was held today, decided to adjourn considering the case to the hearing of January 9 for review.

Sabri's fact is the first the military trial to a civilian after the approval of the new constitution which came into force since December 23 after the announcement of the official results of the referendum. Article no. 189 of the new constitution that regulates the military courts stipulates the following": (...), a civilian may not appear before the military courts unless in the crimes that prejudice the military forces; the law shall regulate such crimes and state the other terms of reference of the military courts".

ANHRI said that "article no. 189 of the new constitution allows the appear of the civilians before the military courts and expands it by using an elastic and undefined phrase by saying (unless in the crimes that prejudice the military forces) without interpretation or inventory to these crimes. The said article also did not define "what is prejudice to the military forces" and how it could be considered as prejudice. The president has to interfere quickly to ban the expansion in using this article against the civilians until electing a new legislative authority that could search the possibility of amending the drafting this article".

ANHRI added that "the freedom of the press and media became in the crossfire of the Egyptian state, by all of its bodies. As only a few days from the presidency institution from prosecuting the journalists through reports to the General Attorney, while at the same time the public prosecution sent most of these reports to the courts until its malicious proved, then this fact occurs, which the military forces confiscated the sanctity of the press and sent a youth to the military court on the background of performing his work, which sets off the alarm bells in respect of the future of the freedoms after January revolution. We are filled with apprehension from the persistent setback in the public freedoms and the expansion in sending the civilians to military courts".

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