156 alleged Muslim Brotherhood members referred to military trial
Military personnel stand with armoured personal carriers outside the Egyptian High Court - REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

CAIRO: A total of 156 alleged Muslim Brotherhood members have been referred to a military trial for belonging to a “terrorist organization and possessing explosives,” Youm7 reported Monday.

The case, which dates back to 2014, will witness its first hearing May 15, Youm7 reported lawyer in the case Khaled al-Masry as saying. The civilian State Security Prosecution had referred the defendants to the military prosecution.

Hundreds of defendants have been referred to military trials in cases related to Sinai Province and Muslim Brotherhood groups in the past two years. Most recently, 73 were referred to a military trial by the public prosecution for belonging to the Sinai-based group in January.

On March 13, seven defendants were sentenced to death in a military trial, three of whom in absentia, among 20 defendants over charges of receiving military training abroad, accepting instructions from the Muslim Brotherhood to “spread chaos,” carrying out assassinations, manufacturing explosives, and other accusations, according to No Military Trials for Civilians website.

A total of 16 defendants were sentenced in a military trial March 2 for detonating a bomb at Kafr el-Sheikh stadium in April 2015, killing three military cadets.

Seven of the defendants were sentenced to death in a military, five were sentenced to life in prison, two were given a 15-year jail term, and three were sentenced to two years in prison, according to Youm7. Six of the defendants were sentenced in absentia.

Following a military trial, six convicts were executed in May 2015 for belonging to Sinai Province and the separate killing of police and military officers in March 2014, representing the only reported case where the capital punishment was applied in a military trial in the past three years.

The said cases were harshly condemned by human rights groups, including the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, which said the tribunals “lacked the standards of a fair trial.”

The jurisdiction of military tribunalsexpanded in the three years following the revolution. President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi issued a decree Oct. 27 that allows military forces to join the police in security public institutions and utilities for two years, and accordingly any citizen arrested for attacking such entities may be referred to a military trial. It also stipulates that crimes of terrorism and acts that “threaten the security of the country” may fall under the purview of military courts.

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