Anti-military trials group rejects Parliament amendments to military judiciary law

The No Military Trials for Civilians group on Friday said the proposed parliamentary amendments to the military judicial law are inadequate, as other articles exist that allow military trials for civilians.

The group, which includes activists and jurists, said in a statement released Friday that "only amending one article is a waste of months of struggle against military trials, which have affected many civilians."

The statement continued: "Despite the fact that Article 6, which gives the president authority to transfer civilians to the military judiciary, is the article under which deposed President Mubarak referred many citizens — including members of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamic groups — to military courts, there are other articles in the military judiciary law that the military council has invoked to refer civilians to military trials.”

The statement said that nearly 12,000 civilians have been transferred to military courts since beginning of the revolution under Articles 8 and 48 of the military judiciary law. Article 48 states that the military judicial authorities have the right to decide whether certain offenses fall within the military’s jurisdiction, and Article 8 allows the trial of minors in military courts.

The group appealed to the MPs to work with them to develop a draft law that will end military trials for civilians.

Lawyer Ahmed Ragheb, director of the Hisham Mubarak Law Center and member of the group, told Al-Masry Al-Youm that they consider the amendments to be collusion with the military council to continue military trials of civilians.

The People’s Assembly on Tuesday approved in principle the amendment of the military judiciary law to abolish Article 6, which gives the president the right to refer civilians to military tribunals if a state of emergency is declared.

The removal of Article 6 means military courts will no longer have the power to refer crimes to their jurisdiction on a case by case basis.

MP Mohamed al-Omda had submitted a draft law to cancel Article 48, which Parliament would discuss at a later stage.

Translated from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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