World Bulletin / News Desk
Egypt's newly elected president must order an end to military trials of civilians to bring the country in line with international law, campaign group Human Rights Watch said in a report on Sunday.
Egypt's army generals handed over power to the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Mursi last month but kept parts of the state apparatus under their control, limiting the president's influence over the military.
At least 12,000 civilians, including children, have been tried by military courts behind closed doors since the uprising in January last year that ousted former President Hosni Mubarak - more than in Mubarak's three-decade rule, according to rights groups.
"Now is the time for President Mursi to carry out his promises to end military encroachment on civilian decision-making and uphold human rights by ending military trials of civilians once and for all," Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch (HRW), said in a statement.
If there was evidence that a civilian had committed a crime, they should be tried by a civilian court, she said.
Mursi formed a panel this month headed by a judge to investigate cases of civilians convicted by military courts.
The committee said 2,165 civilians remained imprisoned after being sentenced, according to the military, and recommended they be pardoned by the president.
"International law is crystal clear on this - no civilian, regardless of the crime, should be tried by a military court. It doesn't take a committee to confirm that," Whitson said.
HRW said the most recent figures issued by the military judiciary on the number of civilians tried by military courts did not appear to be accurate as they had not been updated since last year despite ongoing arrests and trials of civilians.
The group's report cited the case of three political activists who were arrested on Thursday and detained for four days after taking part in a peaceful protest near the home of the head of the military police. The activists are members of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, it said.
It also cited the sentencing on July 9 of eight protesters - one aged 16 - by a Suez military court, for using fireworks that could be considered explosives at a protest. The sentences ranged from six months to three years, the group said.
"The Muslim Brotherhood's position on ending military trials of civilians is already in doubt after their failure to any way limit the military's right to continue referring civilians to military courts," Whitson said.
"(Mursi's) committee will not have the mandate to look at these more recent cases because it will only look at convictions up until June 30, 2012," the report said, referring to the date when the army officially handed over power.
The report said a presidential pardon was the only way an unfair decision by a military court could be overturned.
U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron is to travel to Israel and Palestine for the first time to meet with the Israeli Prime Minister and the Palestinian President.
The victims were clearing mines laid by rebels on a road through a densely forested area in resource-rich Chhattisgarh state when the rebels attacked from all sides
In 2012, Iran seized 388 tonnes of opium, the equivalent of 72 percent of all such seizures around the world.
Crow was loathed by millions of Londoners after orchestrating a 48-hour tube strike that caused travel chaos earlier this year but loved by members of the RMT for whose rights he fought
Dozens of ships and aircraft from 10 countries scoured the seas around Malaysia and south of Vietnam as questions mounted
A Ukrainian airline plane was turned back on its way from Kiev to Simferopol, the region's main city, and had to return to the Ukrainian capital.
Critics called the new law a blow to democracy and said it may even lead to minorities being excluded from the legislature
Missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner tracked by radar over the Strait of Malacca, far from where it last made contact with civilian air traffic control off the country's east coast, a military source told Reuters.
The instability is unnerving consumers, with confidence at a 12-year low, and automakers, property firms and hotels in Southeast Asia's second-biggest economy are feeling the pinch
Journalist was shot by unknown gunmen central Kabul on Tuesday morning and died of his wounds in hospital
Islamic Jihad said targeted members of the group in Rafah, a town bordering Egypt.
Since December, around 60,000 families have fled their homes in the violence-wracked Anbar province to neighboring areas, according to government figures
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) said 18 children under the age of five had died in January and another 23 in February.
A Kurdistan regional administration official says that a recent Saudi ban would convince 200 Kurds currently fighting alongside the Syrian opposition to return home.
Sanader, sentenced to 10 years' jail in another corruption trial in 2012, was given a new nine-year sentence by the Zagreb county court
Earlier Tuesday, Israeli daily The Jerusalem Post reported that the drone had gone down due to a "technical error."