The Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) on Wednesday said it denounces the six month sentence handed down to a civilian by the Military Court in Alexandria last Monday. According to ANHRI Saad Mohamed Ibrahim was sentenced by the military court for swearing at military troops, being in a military area without permission, and carrying a weapon with a blade.
ANHRI said in a statement that Mohamed Ibrahim’s sentence “came after illegal arrest procedures, investigations and trial in which the military troops were the judge, jury and executioner”. The case, ANHRI said, goes against the basic constitutional right of every citizen to be tried before a civilian court.
ANHRI said the defendant’s lawyers proved that the investigation’s findings were incorrect. There was no evidence that Mohamed Ibrahim was carrying a weapon and the testimony of the officer who arrested him was not logical.
ANHRI said that the navy officers who arrested him claimed he was arrested in the navy-controlled section of Abu Qair on 18 February. Eyewitnesses claim the defendant was arrested on Al-Abd beach next to the navy-controlled area.
According to ANHRI, Mohamed Ibrahim was actually arrested on 13 February as part of the Navy’s attempt to discipline people protesting against the Navy’s inability to save the crew of a boat that recently sunk near the coast.
“The continuation of military trials for civilians, destroying the constitutional principle that every citizen has the right to be tried before a civilian judge,” ANHRI said, “entrenches the establishment of a state within and above the state.” The report described Egypt as “a state that combines all the authorities under one body from which there is no independence in the investigation, prosecution and judiciary”.
ANHRI said it holds President Mohamed Morsi responsible, in his capacity as the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, “for the persistence of using military trials for civilians as a tool of repression and a waste of civilian rights”. ANHRI demanded Morsi intervene in Mohamed Ibrahim’s case and other similar cases, arguing that only Morsi has “the power to ensure justice”.
“ANHRI demands the Shura Council, assigned to draft legislation in absence of the House of the Representatives, amend the judicial authority law to be in line with the spirit of the Egyptian constitution,” the statement said.
The statement concluded by saying that although the Constituent Assembly “failed to prohibit the appearance of civilians before military courts” during the formation of the constitution, it does “set a guideline for the crimes and facts which allow the sending of civilians to military courts” which does not include Mohamed Ibrahim’s case.