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Military trial for border crossers postponed to 6 May

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No Military Trials calls for defendants to be tried in civilian court

Qena Criminal Military Court postponed the trial of  a group of seven Muslim Brotherhood members who were arrested while trying to flee to Sudan until 6 May.

The defendants in the case, five Egyptians and two Sudanese, were arrested on 25 February  in the Abu Mora region by the Egyptian-Sudanese border, according to activists from the activist group No Military Trials. They are all civilians.

Assiut Military Prosecution referred the seven suspects to military court on 12 March to be prosecuted for being present in a restricted area, attempting to illegally pass the border, and possessing live ammunition without a permit.

The first court session was on 17 March at Qena Criminal Military Court where the suspects’ defence team was present along with Wael Attiya, said a lawyer from Hisham Mubarak Centre in Aswan.

On the first session, the defence team requested that the forensic office examine their clients to prove that they were tortured, but the court denied their request and ordered that the suspects be examined by a health inspector. The case was adjourned to 24 March.

The court agreed to defence team demands, including those reiterated from the first session, and a request for discussing the prosecution report and adding the foreigners’ passports to the case.

Because the defendants are civilians, No Military Trials said they should  be tried in front of a civilian court instead of a military courts, in a Tuesday statement.

Sara Sherif, a member No Military Trials, said the 2014 Constitution authorised military courts to determine their own jurisdiction, meaning any case can be referred to military court.

“Military cases during the past three years have been politicised and grassroots pressure has helped change a number of oppressive court verdicts,” Sherif said.

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AbdelHalim H. AbdAllah

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