By Sarah Carr
CAIRO: The military prosecution office referred to court Ahmed Hassan Basiouny, charging him with “broadcasting a military secret — namely news and information connected to the armed forces — over the internet,” according to the Hisham Mubarak Law Center.
Basiouny will be tried before a military misdemeanor court.
This internet broadcasting came in the form of a Facebook group Basiouny had created in order to provide general information about the Egyptian military service. The group, called “The Administration for Conscription and Mobilization in the Arab Republic of Egypt,” describes on its Facebook page that it is intended to serve as “an unofficial group of volunteers whose aim is to provide model answers to inquiries.”
Discussion amongst the group’s 1,679 members revolves around practical issues surrounding Egypt’s compulsory military service, such as what type of documentation is required and who qualifies for exemption from military service.
Basiouny was once featured as a guest on the state-run Youth and Sport radio channel to talk about the group. He was hailed on the program as a model for Egyptian youth, the statement said.
Discussion of virtually any aspect of the Egyptian army’s affairs remains a delicate topic. Earlier this year, Ahmed Mostafa became the first Egyptian blogger to face a military trial after posting a story on his blog about alleged corruption at the military academy.
Following Mostafa’s release last March, a spokesperson for Amnesty International said that the organization was concerned that Mostafa’s release “was conditional on him agreeing to apologize and on removing the March 2009 posting from his ‘Matha Assabaka ya Watan’ [What Happened to You, Oh Nation] blog.”