International rights group raises concern about military trials for civilians
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By EHAB EL-SHAZLY

CAIRO: International Coalition for Freedom and Rights (ICFR) issued a report Monday expressing concern about the continuation of trying civilians before military courts in Egypt.

ICFR said that the interim administration insists to refer civilians to military trials with no intention of stopping this practice, which violates the basic rules of international laws and conventions.

The statement also mentioned that five activists affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, who were arrested in Aswan on Feb. 26 and held in a central security camp, were referred to Qena Military Criminal Court.

The statement added that military investigation authorities interrogated them in the absence of any lawyers; a great violation against their legal rights.

According to their families, the detainees were tortured by officers of the National Security Agency to force them to admit crimes they did not commit.

ICFR said the issue of military trials must be solved as it is a social, human rights and public demand, as well as one of the revolution demands. Since the January 25 Revolution more than 12,000 persons were tried before military trials, according to the Military Trial Authority.

Since the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi on July 3, more than 100 have been subjected to military trials and faced tough sentences.

ICFR issued recommendations, demanding the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to immediately interfere to ban the interim administration from continuing referring civilians to military trials and to call on the international community to announce a clear stance toward the violations of Egyptian citizens in Egypt.

A press conference will be held Tuesday in Washington D.C. by ICFR to comment on the recent rights violations in Egypt.

Besides, Amnesty International issued a report on Feb.25 urging Egyptian authorities to end military trials for civilians and journalists, as two journalists, Amr al-Qazaz and Islam Farahat are facing military trial.

According to Amnesty International, the imprisonment of the journalists is a violation of international and Egyptian law.

The newly amended constitution, passed in the referendum mid-January, included the possibility to refer civilians to military trials in certain circumstances. The Military Judicial Law was slightly amended in February, including that all verdicts made in absentia are dropped once the defendant is captured.

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