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Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Death Sentence by Military Court.. Irreversible Injustice
Within days 15 defendants will be facing death sentences issued through trials lacking any aspect of fairness or justice.
Military courts answer only to orders from those higher in the chain of command with no possibility for impartiality.

A fair trial ensures justice for the defendants and fulfills the victim’s right to hold the true culprits accountable.

Military trials never ceased; instead, they actually increased in frequency substantially under the guise of  the War on Terror after the 2014 constitution, with article 204 expanding the jurisdiction of military prosecution over civilians, despite proponents of the constitution claiming otherwise at the time.

The scope of civilian victims of military trials was also broadened after president El Sisi’s regime issued law no. 136 for the year 2014, which gives the Armed Forces shared jurisdiction in securing public and vital buildings, utilities and properties, effectively considering them military buildings during the period of protection. Through that law, thousands of civilians were referred to military prosecution, including hundreds of university students in light of incidents that occurred within university campus,under the claim that universities are vital institutions that fall under the aforementioned jurisdiction.

We have previously addressed the reasons for opposing military trials for civilians,emphasizing the right of every civilian to a fair trial, regardless of identity, ideology or affiliation, and to appear before a civilian judge even in light of the current deterioration we are witnessing within the Egyptian civilian judiciary system.
Military judiciary lack many of the basic guarantees to a fair and just trial; it lies under the command of the Minister of Defense and all its judges are military personnel varying in ranks and thus are governed by the regulations stated in military service laws.Therefore, the Minister of Defense appoints its judges, following the recommendations of the Head of the Military Judiciary Authority, and appointed judges are unable to prosecute officers holding higher ranks and are obliged to follow their superiors’ orders. Additionally, military court verdicts are not binding before its ratification by an officer who’s not a member of the court, where said officer holds the authority to annul, suspend or reduce sentence or even order a retrial, removing any form of autonomy or possibility for neutrality and impartiality even if the judges wished so.

Despite these severe violations, our priority at the moment is to immediately pressure and stand against imminent death sentences waiting to be issued against civilians from a military court.

Case files of 15 defendants in two cases (2015/325 Alexandria military criminal court and 2015/174 west Cairo military criminal court) were submitted to the Mufti, and expected to be returned for ruling by early and mid of next March.
This injustice was evident in the case of Arab Sharkas where reports of kidnappings and torture that were filed by families of the civilian defendants were not looked into, and indeed the death sentence was carried out May 2015, following which the word “vengeance” was used among all local news headlines. What kind of justice can we hope to see from a regime celebrating vengeance?

Death sentences are the most dangerous of all punishments, and are irreversible if afterwards defendants were found innocent, especially in the case of military trials of civilians, in light of overwhelming public rage and polarization, and in absence of all guarantees of fulfillment of justice.

We understand that the blood-tinted reality and constant instigation by the state and media, pushes the majority towards conforming to calls for vengeance. However, we insist that justice is the only way to guarantee a humane future and achieve true stability.
Our demands do not only lie with the rights of defendants at heart – but also lie with the of victims and plaintiffs to hold the true culprits accountable for their crimes, and the right of society to know the truth.

Do not let them commit a crime in your name. Join us in demanding the annulment of death sentences passed and reconsideration of any imminent death sentences by military trials against civilians, and the retrial of all civilians before their civilian judge and with all guarantees for serving justice.

No to Military Trials for Civilians

Military trial cases awaiting death sentences
Case #
Sentencing Date
Case Summary
# of Defendants
Sentences so far
Case 325/2015 Military Criminal Court - Alexandria
Charges date back to 15th April 2015 in the vicinity of Kafr Al Sheikh sports stadium where an IED was detonated next to the stadium's main gate, where military academy students gather for travelling to Cairo, causing 3 fatalities and 2 casualties. Security forces arrested 8 locals, abducted and tortured them for approx. 2 months then appeared in military courts charged in that case
Premeditated murder by detonating a private bus used by military academy students
2 case files were referred to Mufti in absentia, 6 referred to Mufti in attendance
Case 175/2015 Military Criminal Court - West Cairo
15 civilians abducted from the streets or their homes from 25th of May to early June 2015, underwent forceful disappearance for 15-30 days, only to appear in a video filmed in a central security location and  published by the Ministry of Defense, with some showing signs of torture and abuse, admitting a series of charges and planning assassinations, arson and murder. Security apparatuses claimed that they were arrested as members of  a terrorist cell with intentions of targeting high ranking government and military officials as well as sabotaging electrical and communication stations.
Receiving orders from Muslim Brotherhood group to spread chaos. Receiving military training in an abroad camp to execute assassinations, abductions and manufacture of explosive devices, securing the terrorist cells' communication and movements within the country
20 defendants aging 19-40 years old
3 case files were sent to Mufti in absentia, 4 case files sent in attendance
Military cases during Supreme Council of Armed Forces' (SCAF) rule
Case #
Sentencing Date
Case Summary
# of Defendants
Sentences so far
Case 55/2011 Partial Military Criminal Court - Ismailia governorate
First and second defendants were charged with rape and theft, and the third defendant was included in the case despite the victim's inability to identify him as well as no forensic reports substantiating claims of rape

1st and 2nd defendant were tortured in Ismailia stadium and subjected to rape and assault, traces of which still remain visible on the 1st defendant, leading him to attempt suicide in jail and suffered epileptic seizures due to detainment conditions in Wadi Al Natrun prison.
3rd defendants' brother holds a testimonial of torture conducted as an officer told him that the 1st and 2nd defendant were tortured while his brother wasn't as the victim didn't identify him

No reports of torture were officially filed
Rape and grand theft auto
Case 390/2011 Military Criminal Court - East Cairo
4 defendants were tortured in Al Waily police station by the officer mentioned in the official investigation and no claims of torture were officially reported
Rape of female and theft
Case 2231/2011 Military Criminal Court - East Cairo
5 defendants were tortured
47/2013 Full Military Criminal Court - Ismailia

16/2013 Partial - Ismailia

3 defendants - one fugitive and another aged 18 years old- are sentenced to death, and the last is a 16 year old minor who was sentenced to 15 years in prison

They were charged with criminal organization of grand theft auto and murder of an Armed Forces captain on the Ismailia ring-road highway after his resistance to their burglary
Death sentences for 2 defendants and 15 years in prison for the 3rd

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