Human rights organizations condemn Suez trial verdicts

Four human rights organizations have condemned last week's military trial of 63 civilians in Suez, which saw some defendants handed life sentences for alleged involvement in violence following the overthrow of Mohamed Morsy as Egyptian president.
 
Organizations have called for authorities not to okay the verdicts.
 
The four organization consist of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR), the Hisham Mubarak Law Center, as well as the No to Military Trials Campaign.
 
“[The] verdicts were issued after only two sessions, in which the court considered 17 cases,” said the human right organizations in a joint statement, “while human rights lawyers who volunteered to defend the defendants experienced difficulties."
 
The statement referred to "intransigence" by Third Field Army officials involved in the judical process.
 
“This military trial against civilians is the third since the interim government took over on 3 July,” it stated.
 
The statement demanded interim President Adly Mansour to use legislative authority to issue a law banning military trials of civilians in Egypt.
 
The military court in Suez issued verdicts last Tuesday against 63 defendants in total.
 
One defendant was given life imprisonment, two given 15-year sentences and another defendant was given 10 years imprisonment.
 
Another 47 defendants were each handed five-year prison sentences and 12 were acquitted.
 
The trial was tasked with dealing with charges of assualt against the armed forces in Suez, including stone-throwing and the use of Molotov cocktails.
 
Human rights lawyers who participated in the defense team faced difficulties in properly representing civilian defendants before the court, held at the Third Army headquarters in Agroud on the Cairo-Suez highway, instead of its usual place at the military court in Suez.
 
Third Army security forces first denied lawyers access to the courtroom, before it took three hours to gain entry, the statement claimed.
 
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm