CAIRO: Attorney General Hisham Barakat referred 61 Muslim brotherhood (MB) members to military prosecution Saturday over violent-related charges, Youm 7 reported.
According to a statement released from Barakat’s office, the defendants face charges of “forming committees within the MB targeting military institutions, exploding natural gas pipeline in the Delta’s town of Kafr el-Sheikh and train in Alexandria, setting a restaurant in Menoufia on fire and assassinating a policeman in Qalyubia.”
In April, 64 defendants were also referred to a military tribunal over involvement in an attempt to set up a “military wing” of the banned MB group.
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 in October 2014, 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.
In December 2013, Egypt declared the Brotherhood as a terrorist organization and insists it is behind the stringent wave of militancy which has targeted security personnel.