We, the Campaign to End Military Trials of Civilians, condemn in the strongest possible terms the imprisonment of prominent Egyptian activist and blogger, Alaa Abd el Fattah and the unjust and illegal system of military tribunals implemented by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) since becoming rulers of Egypt on January the 28th, 2011.
Today Alaa Abd El Fattah was summoned to the Military Prosecutor’s office, accused of assaulting military personnel, stealing military weaponry and inciting violence against the military. On questioning, Abd El Fattah declined to answer the prosecutor’s questions, stating that it is illegal and a clear conflict of interest for the military, as a party accused of a crime, to hold proceedings or adjudicate fairly. He was sent to detention pending further military investigation.
As of today we refuse to co-operate with the military prosecution of civilians and we call on all Egyptian citizens to stand with us.
At least 12,000 Egyptian civilians have been subjected to summary, covert military trials. The accused are often denied counsel, the opportunity to review evidence or examine witnesses; there are limited avenues of appeal. Eighteen death sentences have been handed down so far.
Abd El Fattah’s targeting is only the latest example of the systematic targeting of journalists, media figures, bloggers and activists by SCAF.
Abd El Fattah is being held responsible for violence on October 9th, the night when the Army killed at least 28 peaceful protesters and injured several hundred more. Several respected human rights organisation have attested to this.
Furthermore, it is perverse that Mina Daniel is listed as the first name on the Military Prosecutor’s list of the accused. Mina Daniel was killed by military gunfire on October 9th.
Abd El Fattah is now being held for fifteen days in prison – which can be renewed indefinitely – by a body which has no legal authority to do so. Twenty eight more are in jail. Mina Daniel paid with his life.
We demand that Alaa Abd El Fattah be freed immediately, that military trials of civilians be stopped and all those sentenced thus far be released or at least retried before civilian courts. We support all of those who similarly refuse to recognize the legitimacy of the military prosecution.
This is not the new Egypt we have fought and died for.
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