Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Thousands of Egyptians waiting for justice

...One year after Egypt's 'January 25 Revolution'

Last February, military police and soldiers beat up Amr Abdallah Al-Beheiry and arrested him at a protest in Cairo. Days later, a military court sentenced him to five years in prison for assaulting a public officer and breaking the curfew.

Amr Abdallah Al-Beheiry had no chance of a fair trial. His hearing lasted just minutes. The court didn’t allow his family, or lawyer, into the room. Instead, it chose its own lawyer to defend him.

Now, a military appeals court has said Amr Abdallah Al-Beheiry will be retried – by another military court.

As for Maikel Nabil Sanad, the army is toying with his life. He has already served 10 months in jail for criticizing the army. His family’s hopes were dashed when he was not released in spite of an official announcement.

He should never have been sentenced in the first place.

Since the uprising, military courts have tried about 12,000 cases and convicted an estimated 8,000 ordinary Egyptians for crimes like “thuggery” or “breaking curfew”.

The cases of Amr Abdallah Al-Beheiry and Maikel Nabil Sanad are two of those. Military courts have even sentenced people to death.

Egypt’s military rulers have said they will release nearly 2,000 people locked up after military trials. However, they have not said how many will be left behind bars.

Military courts can’t deliver justice. It’s time to put a stop such trials once and for all.

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