Military Court Sentences 17 Mursi Supporters to Maximum Security Prison

The Suez Military Court sentenced on Monday 17 civilians to five to 10 years of maximum security prison for assaulting the army forces in the wake of dispersal of two pro-Mohamed Mursi sit-ins in August 2013.

The defendants, believed to be members of the Muslim Brotherhood and Jamaa Isalmiya, were given sentences ranging between 5, 7, and 10 years. The court also acquitted one defendant.

The military prosecution accused the defendants of violence, use of force, throwing incendiary devices, and rocks at third field army personnel securing the Suez governorate building and other vital facilities in Suez.

They were also charged with attacking and torching five military armoured vehicles.

Article 204 of Egypt’s 2014 constitution allows referring civilians to military trials “in cases which represent a direct assault on armed forces institutions, their camps or anything that falls under their authority, alongside assaults on military or border zones, and military institutions, vehicles, weapons, ammunition, documents, secrets, public funds, or factories.”

The article was gly condemned by civil society organisations and a number of political movements before the constitution passed.

No Military Trials for Civilians, a group campaigning against referring civilians to military tribunals, has rallied protests against this article as well as previous legislations which allow the military trial of civilians.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi issued on October 27 a new law which refers crimes committed against the state’s public and “vital” facilities to the military judiciary. The law is valid for two years.

The law, criticised by human rights organisations for expanding the jurisdicition of military tribunals on civilians, was passed shortly after the death of at least 33 security personnel in militant attacks in Sinai on October 24.

Source : Aswat Masriya