A Cairo military court handed out a one-year suspended prison sentence to computer engineer Sherif El-Hosary on Monday. El-Hosary was facing a military trial on charges of possessing secret military documents.
Military intelligence officers arrested El-Hosary on 19 November 2012, accusing him of holding confidential information about the armed forces on a computer hard drive; the hard drive was confiscated upon Al-Hosary’s arrest alongside other personal belongings.
El-Hosary said he is on trial due to a personal dispute with a retired army brigadier general whom he says reported him. He and the general had a financial dispute in which El-Hosary claimed the general owed him money.
A group of 13 unidentified men searched his house the day of his arrest and seized mobile phones and computer hard drives. El-Hosary was then taken to the military police headquarters.
El-Hosary said the hard drives do not belong to him and are the property of his clients, some of whom are military officers.
He was detained for 45 days during which he stood trial in front of a military court before being released in January. Had he been acquitted he would have been eligible to collect compensation for the time he was kept on remand.
Article 198 of the new constitution allows for military trials for civilians in special circumstances “as regulated by the law”. Over 12,000 civilians have faced military trials since the January 2011 uprising.