The Abasseya trial resumed on Wednesday after Tuesday’s court verdict saw the acquittal of several people, and the sentencing of several others, charged following clashes in Abasseya in May. Following Tuesday’s verdict and Morsi’s pardon of 572 detainees many groups such as the No Military Trials for Civilians Movement (NMTCM) felt the results of Tuesday’s court case to be unsatisfactory
According to the NMTCM tweets on Wednesday’s trial, sentences ranging from 3 to 6 months were handed out to some activists and the trial proceeded much as it had done on Tuesday.
“Our stance remains as it always has been,” Shahira Abouellail, one of the co-founders of the movement, said on Tuesday. “We remain against the entire mechanism of military trials. We do not accept the way which the detainees are being released.”
Another prominent member of the movement, RagiaOmran, believes that pardoning the accused is not enough. According to her, the military trials should be “abolished altogether. We demand material as well as moral compensation for all those militarily detained. Moreover, they deserve an apology for all the torture and suffering they witnessed,”Omran said Tuesday.
According to Mohamed Abdelaziz, a lawyer who has been involved in the Abasseya trials in the past, the defendants are not being treated justly. “The court doesn’t give the defendants enough time to review the case, nor do they allow for postponement of the cases,” Abdelaziz said. “The court also does not allow for the appearance of witnesses that contradict the conviction. The cases are politically motivated fabrications, and I expect political verdicts.”
Earlier this month a spokesman for the presidential committee, Mahmoud Fawzi, highlighted that since 25 January 2011, many of the 12,000 civilians which had been arrested and sent to military courts for protesting have since been released, pardoned or have completed their sentences. “According to the figures given to us by the Military Judicial Department, 2,165 people are currently in prison serving sentences handed to them by military courts, or are awaiting military trial,” Al-Ahram quoted Fawzy saying. “The cases of a reasonable number of prisoners will be settled soon and they can be released”.
These official statistics are much lower than the estimates made by independent observers, which put the most conservative estimates of detainees at closer to 6,000. As the trial continues to take place, activists have vowed to continue piling pressure on Morsi and the government to release the civilians with as much haste as possible. Despite Morsi’s pardon, the Abasseya trial still has hundreds, perhaps thousands, of cases to go through, which could mean a very lengthy process with no end in sight just yet.