Posting anti-military trials poster not a felony, but still arrestable
Anti-military trials poster logo

CAIRO:  A Dostour Party member was arrested Sunday for placing posters in Alexandria decrying military trials for civilians.

Security forces arrested political activist Safwan Mohamed near Two Saints Church and accused him of protesting and chanting slogans against the military and security forces, according to the BanMilTirals Facebook page.

Mohamed was detained because he placed posters protesting military trials against civilians, said Dostour spokesperson Khaled Daoud on the “Egypt in a day” talk show Monday evening. He noted that the prosecution charged Mohamed with insulting a police officer.

Twelve youth members from the party have been arrested in the past few months, Daoud added.

Two days after being arrested, Safwan was set free from Montaza prosecution on Tuesday but is still facing charges, Defense of Rights and Freedoms Front in Alexandria member Mohamed Gabr told The Cairo Post.

“The charge of placing posters against military trials for civilians is neither a felony nor a misdemeanor because it is free expression by a citizen,” Ali Taher, a lawyer at the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information told The Cairo Post Tuesday.

However, the prosecution has the right to say if this action is a felony or a misdemeanor. If the prosecution accusations come under the charge of disturbing public order the action will be a felony, while it would be a misdemeanor if the charge was merely raising insulting slogans, Taher added.

More than 12,000 civilians have appeared before military trials since 2011, Sara al-Sherif, a member of the No Military Trials for Civilians group, told The Cairo Post.

However, the military judiciary is the only authority that knows the official figure, she said. There is no law that bans military trials for civilians, Sherif added.

Safwan and various Arabic media have claimed that in 2010 the activist was the first person to endorse former Vice President Mohamed ElBaradei to run for president.

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