Another 300 Muslim Brotherhood figures referred to military courts

Adham Youssef
4 Min Read

The Egyptian prosecution in Ismaillia referred 300 Muslim Brotherhood figures to military courts on Monday.

Among the figures are Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie, along with other prominent leaders in the organisation, including Mohamed El-Beltagy, Essam El-Erain, and Safwat Hegazy, according to Aswat Masryia.

The defendants are charged with inciting violence and torching the Ismaillia court house building in July 2013, following the dispersal of the pro-Morsi camps in Rabaa Al-Adaweya and Al-Nahda squares.

The Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, announced late Monday that 40 defendants, including nine women, were also referred to military prosecution in Ismailia over charges of “joining a banned group and illegal protesting”.

The Hisham Mubarak Law Centre confirmed the incident and added that four of the female defendants are high school students.

The FJP added that the incident is the first time “for women to be referred to military courts after facing fabricated charges”. The party added that the women were briefly arrested and released in separate incidents, but they are now waiting to be tried in front of a military court.

On Saturday, the Egyptian prosecution referred 439 defendants to military court, on charges related to the violence that took place after the dispersal of pro-Mohammed Morsi sit-ins in August 2013.

Islamist group Al-Jamaa Al-Islamiya condemned on Monday the referral of “hundreds of anti-coup protesters to military courts”.

The group added that the incident is “a human rights violation that does not allow citizens to have a fair trial”. It questioned the legality of the law which refers citizens to military courts, saying that “it was not issued nor reviewed by any judicial entity”.

“Such actions will deepen the crisis of judiciary the country has been witnessing. We call to force the judiciary out of the current political struggle,” the group said.

On 24 November, five members of the group were sentenced to one-year in prison and a fine of EGP 500 by a military appeals court, on charges of attempting to cross the Sudanese border through a military zone without permission.

Al-Jamaa Al-Islamiya was one of the main jihadist militant groups in the 1980s and the 1990s, assisting in the assassination of Anwar Sadat and carrying out numerous attacks against the Hosni Mubarak regime as well as civilians. However, in 1996 the group renounced violence and revised its ideology, focusing on charity and preaching.

Tens of the group’s members received heavy prison sentences in front of military tribunals during the 1990s.

In October of this year, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi issued a decree which expanded the jurisdiction of military courts to include anyone who attacks the state’s “vital” facilities.

Various human rights organisations condemned the law, including Human Rights Watch, which stated that the law gives military courts “the widest legal authority since the birth of Egypt’s modern republic in 1952”.

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