The Alexandria Military Court approved the death sentences Wednesday for seven defendants the Kafr El-Sheikh stadium case; a bomb blast took the lives of three military academy students neat the stadium in April 2015.
Of the seven, three were sentenced in absentia. Five defendants were sentenced to life in prison, two to 15 years in prison, and two others to three years in prison. The sixteen defendants were put on trial for charges of murder, committing acts of terror, and for belonging the banned Muslim Brotherhood group.
The incident led to the deaths of three military academy students due to injuries sustained from the resulting blast of an improvised explosive device (IED) that targeted a bus carrying military academy students near Kafr El-Sheikh Stadium. Six other students were injured.
The “No to Military Trials for Civilians” group issued a statement in anticipation of the verdict calling for “annulment of death sentences already passed and reconsideration of any imminent death sentences by military trials against civilians, and the retrial of all civilians before a civilian judge with all guarantees for serving justice”.
Eight defendants are awaiting the same fate as the West Cairo Military Court is set to approve their death sentences on 13 March in the “specialised intelligence committee” case.
The eight defendants were sentenced as part of a larger trial wherein 28 defendants are charged with planning to assassinate army personnel, sabotaging electrical and communication infrastructure, and operating under the auspices of the international direction of the Muslim Brotherhood, according to the prosecution.
The phenomenon of referring civilians before military prosecution and courts has risen dramatically since the issuance of law No. 136/2014. The law, widely condemned by civil rights NGOs, stated that public buildings and facilities including “electricity networks and stations, gas pipes, oil fields, railways, road and bridge networks, as well as other buildings, utilities and public property and anything that is considered as such” are under the “security and protection” of the military judiciary.
“Through that law, thousands of civilians were referred to military prosecution, including hundreds of university students in light of incidents that occurred within university campus under the claim that universities are vital institutions that fall under the aforementioned jurisdiction,” according to “No to Military Trials for Civilians”.