Friday, November 30, 2012

Draft Egypt Charter May Allow Military Trials of Civilians

Draft Egypt charter leaves door open for military trials of civilians: Activists

Ahram Online, Friday 30 Nov 2012

Draft constitutional article banning military trials for civilians contains loophole that will allow Mubarak-era practice to continue, Egyptian rights campaigners assert

The 'No to Military Trials' campaign on Friday stated that Egypt's newly-approved draft constitution had a loophole that would still allow civilians to be tried by military tribunals.

In a statement released Thursday, the group strongly denounced the constitutional draft article banning military trials for civilians, accusing the Islamist-led Constituent Assembly of "preserving the repressive tools used by Mubarak and the military."

"It is prohibited to carry out military trials for civilians, unless for crimes that affect the armed forces," the draft article reads.

"The second part of the article's text leaves the door open for repeating the same disastrous measures that enabled the military to subject over 12,000 civilians to military trials within one year," the campaign stated.

The statement continued: "The way the parliament, the presidency, and now the Constituent Assembly, handle the subject of military trials for civilians does not aim at resolving the problem, but only to remove the aspects that attract media attention. But it still provides a loophole for exceptional trials."

Tens of thousands took to the streets on Friday in Tahrir Square and various governorates across the country to protest the Constituent Assembly and President Mohamed Morsi's 22 November constitutional declaration.

Egypt's Constituent Assembly approved the draft constitution on Thursday, despite the withdrawal of about one third of its members.

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