A nine- year-old child will be tried by a Fayoum military court after allegedly attacking security forces and burning electricity transformers, relatives and a legal support group told Daily News Egypt.
The child, who Daily News Egypt cannot name, is to be tried alongside his father Magdy Mohamed Talib, an engineer and former government official. The father appears to have began facing difficulties following the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi.
Daily News Egypt spoke to Talib’s brother Abu Abeeda, who said the former head of the Fayoum Roads and Bridges Authority was “removed from his post after the coup and detained for eight months” but later released.
However, Talib was rearrested on 16 January accused of blowing up electricity transformers and attacking security forces. Whilst only Talib was detained, the charges against him also included his nine-year-old son, Abu Abeeda continued, which was done “to get at Talib…we expect them to come soon to arrest the son”.
It is believed Talib was involved with the banned Freedom and Justice Party, the political wing of the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood.
Daily News Egypt spoke to various members of the campaigning and legal support group ‘No Military Trials’ who are working in connection with the family and legal defence. However, a member of the group said that the close family and lawyer do not wish to comment because “everyone is getting arrested in Fayoum”.
A decree passed by President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi on 27 October greatly expanded the scope of military courts. This now allows for any civilian charged with attacking “public and vital” property, including installations such as electricity facilities, to be tried by the closed-door tribunals.
In the year following the 25 January Revolution, Human Rights Watch reported that Egyptian military courts investigated or tried 12,000 civilians, out of which at least 43 were minors. Those tried typically had no access to lawyers and relatives before being sentenced, and some were in detention for up to a year and reported being physically abused.
Another case that the campaign and legal support group ‘No Military Trials’ has followed was that of Mohamed Ehab. Arrested when he was 16-years-old during the 25 January Revolution, he was later given a 15-year prison sentence by a military court.
During the last year and a half at least 1,000 minors have been detained in Egypt’s prisons according to human rights group ‘Free the Children’. The group claims that minors as young as 11-years-old are often arrested randomly during clashes between protestors and police.
In December, news broke of a detention camp in the town of Banha holding an estimated 600 minors. Though denied by the Ministry of the Interior, Daily News Egypt spoke to lawyers working with families of the children detained there who corroborated the story.