64 referred to military court for forming MB ‘military wing’
Attorney General Hisham Barakat - YOUM7 (Archive)

CAIRO: Attorney General Hisham Barakat Saturday referred 64 persons to a military tribunal over involvement in an attempt to set up a “military wing” for the Muslim Brotherhood, Youm7 reported.

According to a statement issued from Barakat’s office Saturday the defendants “have created groups of armed members in Cairo, Alexandria and Port Said [governorates] to establish a military wing with the purpose of targeting judges, security personnel and facilities and creating a state of chaos to destabilize the country.”

Of those accused, 23 have allegedly confessed to membership in the armed group, as well as to arms possession, manufacture and use, according to the statement.

“Ten defendants confessed to storming police stations in Alexandria, targeting security checkpoints and attempting to kill security personnel,” said the statement. It added that 9 others have confessed to vandalize electricity generating towers in Cairo while other 4 have confessed to plant explosive devices at Cairo airport and shopping malls.

In October, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi passed a presidential decree that greatly expanded the scope of Egypt’s military courts; the decree allows for any civilian charged with attacking any public property, including trains, to be tried by closed-door military tribunals, and in some cases this has been applied retroactively to those who attacked public property before the decree was passed.

Valid for two years, the decree was passed shortly after the death of at least 30 security personnel in militant attacks in Sinai Oct. 24, and has been criticized by many human rights organizations.

According to the presidential decree, armed forces personnel are authorized to cooperate with the police in securing “vital and important public facilities.”

The Brotherhood has faced a crackdown since the July 2013 ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, with the majority of the group’s leaders sitting behind bars either serving sentences or awaiting trial.

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