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Activist groups protest at Shura Council against military trials

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Activists threaten to vote no on new constitution if article passes

Protesters against military trials of civilians demonstrated by the Shura Council demanding the removal of the article which allows such trials be removed from the constitution (Photo by Abdelhalim Abdullah)

Protesters against military trials of civilians demonstrated by the Shura Council demanding the removal of the article which allows such trials be removed from the constitution
(Photo by Abdelhalim Abdullah)

Activist groups held a protest in front of the Shura Council building Saturday calling for the abolishment of military trials for civilians, a demand dating back to March 2011.

Among the groups in attendance were No Military Trials, 6 April (Democratic Front), and the Revolutionary Socialists.

“The Constituent Assembly is supposed to be fixing the conflicts raised by the [former ruling Muslim Brotherhood party’s] assembly,” said novelist Dr Ahmed Abdel Moniem, who was present at the protest. “Having the listening session to ban military trials was a good step, but if it still goes into the new constitution then I am voting no.”

On 23 September a listening session was assembled on behalf of No Military Trials, where the group said banning military trials would not represent a threat to national security, but would instead consolidate the sovereignty of the Egyptian state, which respects and abides by the law.

Meanwhile, the Constituent Assembly held a listening session on 20 September with  the representative of the Armed Forces, who advocated the article be kept in place, calling the practice “common… all over the world” in cases of war. The country’s constitution must be ready for all cases, he added.

“Having civilians trialed by military prosecution is a way for creating a country within the country and that is unacceptable,” said Revolutionary Socialist member Adel Nadim, also one of the protest’s organizers. “The Egyptian penal law is sufficient to deter anyone from committing any crimes against the Armed Forces.”

The article is still a matter of debate and controversy among the committee members and was not mentioned among the finalised articles on the press conference held on Saturday by assembly spokesperson Mahmoud  Salmawy.

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AbdelHalim H. AbdAllah

Follow AbdelHalim on twitter: @Abdukhalim1


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