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Alexandria military court hands sentences to 147 defendants, including minors - Daily News Egypt

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Alexandria military court hands sentences to 147 defendants, including minors

EFACC says it is ready to oppose the military sentencing of children

Protesters have been pressuring President Morsy to use his presidential powers to free thousands of civilians tried in military courts in Egypt (photo: AFP)
President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi recently issued a decree which expanded the jurisdiction of military courts to include anyone who attacks the state’s “vital” facilities. The decree was widely condemned by human rights group
(photo: AFP)

An Alexandria military court issued sentences against 147 defendants, including at least 12 children aged between 15 and 18, according to the National Community for Human Rights and Law.

The Egyptian Foundation for the Advancement of Childhood Conditions (EFACC) stated that despite the due release of six children in this case, numbered 152/2014, the foundation maintains that all military trials of children must end.

The sentences varied, with approximately 50 people receiving life sentences, while 30 received 15-year prison sentences, seven received 10-year sentences, two received seven-year sentences, and 18 received five-year sentences. A total of 37 were found innocent.

Meanwhile, three children were declared as falling outside the jurisdiction of the court, whereas six more children received 15-year sentences, while three other children were proven innocent. According to EFACC, the charges include “offences against public property and intimidating civilians through force and violence”.

Offences such as these now fall under the jurisdiction of military courts as of a recent decree expanding the scope of military trials to include any violations against “vital state properties”.

EFACC also stated that it intends on appealing the sentences for the remaining children. In its statement, the foundation wrote, Egypt must “respect its international commitments” and especially the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

According to the Arab Network for Human Rights, a 15-year-old named Abdullah Mahmoud has been forcibly disappeared for over a month. His family has sent a number of telegraphs to security authorities asking of the whereabouts of their son, but have received no response.

Mahmoud’s family said they received a phone call from one of the detainees in an Alexandria Juvenile Disciplinary Facility who told them their son was being held in solitary confinement.

Enforced disappearances often later lead to military trials for the forcibly disappeared. This tactic of arrest has been on the rise in Egypt over the past two years, according to Amnesty International.

Likewise, military trials for civilians have risen. On 17 May, Egypt executed six men that had been sentenced to death in a military court, while civilians courts are still looking into the legality of their executions. Evidence purportedly points to some of them having been arrested prior to the date of the crimes for which they were convicted.

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