Alaa will face civil, not military trial, says father
Alaa Abdel Fattah

Egyptian blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah’s detainment has been extended by a further 15 days due to his accusations against the ruling military council, said his father Ahmed Seif al-Islam at a symposium entitled “Military trials against civilians.”

Seif al-Islam, a lawyer, human rights activist and director of the Egyptian Hisham Mubarak Law Center said the military council is treating civilians like “cockroaches and slaves.” He also stressed the necessary participation in demonstrations November 18 against Deputy PM Ali el-Selmy’s constitutional principles document.

“Alaa will be prosecuted publicly not militarily” added his father.

There are 12,400 post-January 25 Revolution militarily tried civilians, as opposed to 2,000 during ousted president Hosni Mubarak’s era.

The dissolved State Security Investigation body’s methods are the same used by the military prosecution now. Alaa’s mother Laila Soueif sent a message to the prosecution asking how her son was accused of stealing a military gun when there was no order to search his home. Subsequently, a witness came forward and said they saw Alaa steal the weapon.

“I’d rather accept a Salafi government than another day of military rule.” said Seif al-Islam at the symposium organized by Tahrir Lounge, a forum organizing meetings between political powers.

Two days ago, the military prosecution summoned Egyptian political activist Ahmed Darag, but he refused to go. The prosecution then said he was only summoned as a witness which Darag responded to by saying the only prosecution he would go to would be a public one, said Seif al-Islam.

The accusations against Alaa should be directed at the military Council members, Minister of Information Osama Heikal and Maspiro broadcaster Rasha Magdi after they incited violence against Coptic Christians’ September 9 Maspiro demonstration through the media, added Seif al-Islam.

He also said Egyptian military law should only be used during two instances, the first being the running of the army’s day to day tasks and the second being during war. He added the law should not deal with the country’s everyday issues, as is the case post-revolution.

In the civil prosecution, if an accused person appears after being sentenced in absentia, they are retried. Military prosecution does not include this which opposes legal standards, says the blogger’s father.

Any court verdict is referred to the authority for approval by leader of the central region Hassan al-Roweini, who is one of the military council members accused by Alaa.

The final verdict cannot be appealed against which makes the punishment very dangerous and without guarantees, according to Seif al-Islam.

There have been around 20,000 people accused and only 300 appeals against the verdicts. Many of the accused have not appealed because they do not fully understand their rights, Seif al-Islam added.

The military council should not be authorized with all presidential duties, especially the parliament, as the judiciary is not independent. There should be an independent committee of judges investigating cases instead of the military prosecution, said lawyer and human rights activist Gamal Eid.

Police officers accused of killing January 25 Revolution demonstrators have been released, while Alaa Abdel Fattah who is not a killer, is still imprisoned. There is a huge double standard here, Eid added.

Military ruling is infamous for obeying orders only, according to Eid who described the military prosecution system like “gangs’ systems.”

The Mubarak regime’s approaches are the same being used by the military council, which chooses to imprison innocent people for the ruling power’s own security. Military prosecution uses pre-charging imprisonment against civilians, accusing them of being thugs, said Egyptian blogger and political activist Wael Khalil.

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