Egypt to see first military trial of civilians under new constitution

Amr al-Qazzaz and Islam al-Homsi face charges of attempting to defame the armed forces through publishing leaked videos of al-Sisi.

Egypt to see first military trial of civilians under new constitution
World Bulletin / News Desk
 
Two Egyptians will on Monday stand a military trial for leaking videos of army chief Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi with the alleged intent of defaming the army, in the first military trial of civilians since the January's passage of a new constitution.

Cairo's military prosecution on Saturday referred a co-founder and a senior manager of Rassd, an online news network linked to ousted president Mohamed Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, to a military court.

Amr al-Qazzaz and Islam al-Homsi face charges of attempting to defame the armed forces through publishing leaked videos of al-Sisi, who is perceived as the chief architect of Morsi's overthrow on July 3.

"Putting journalists on trial, let alone military ones, signals the decline in freedom of expression in Egypt since July 3," Ahmed Mafrah, the head of the Cairo office of AlKarama, a Swiss-based independent human rights organization, told Anadolu Agency Sunday.

"It is unacceptable to try civilians before military court in any case," he asserted.

According to article 204 of Egypt's new constitution, the military judiciary is solely responsible for crimes related to the armed forces and its rank and file.

Civilians, it adds, can be prosecuted by the military judiciary for crimes against the army, which should be defined by the law.

The article drew criticism from several local and international rights organizations and protest groups.

In late January, the military-backed interim government amended the military trials law to allow appeals.

"Even after the law amendment, it is inconceivable that the first military trial under the new constitution is for journalists whose right to freedom of expression is entrenched in the charter," Mafrah told AA.

The Rassd news network along with the Qatari-owned Al Jazeera Mubashir Misr news channel had aired several leaked video footages and audio clips of recorded statements for al-Sisi.

In one such footage said to have been recorded last December, the army chief allegedly warned of far-reaching consequences if the military intervened in the political process.

The Egyptian armed forces never addressed any of the leaks.

Last Mod: 23 Şubat 2014, 13:16
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