- Human RightsPrisoners of Conscience
- December 17, 2007
- 6 minutes read
ACHR: MB Military Tribunal a Violation to Detainees’ Judicial Rights, Preparation for Tawreeth
Al-Quds Al-Arabi: The French capital Paris witnessed on Friday a seminar around the problems in Egypt facing the judicial independence and emergency justice, the judiciary under expanding powers of the military justice, fallouts of constitutionalizating the exceptional against the state of law, the main freedoms between the hammer of exceptional justice and anvil of the security authority in Egypt .This was a part of the Arab Commission for Human Rights” celebrations for marking the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, launched by the high commissioner for human rights and in coordination with the European Arab cultural forum, Free Voice organization, International Organization for Justice, Dignity to defend human rights, in addition to a presence of a group intellectuals.
The seminar included speeches by Dr. Nader Fergani, MP Mohamed Saad Al Katatni, Dr. Mohamed Al Sayed Said, lawyer Nasser Amin, MP lawyer Sobhi Saleh Mousa, Dr. Amr Al Shobaki, Dr. Haitham Manaa and Dr. Violet Daghure, in addition other Egyptian, Arab and European experts.
The speeches pointed out that the military court is a crime that amounts to torture because it harms both the present and the future and it harms the soul and body. Add to this the fact that those referred to the military court in Egypt are the ones fighting tyranny and corruption. They attributed this military tribunal to the Muslim Brotherhood”s winning a fifth of the seats of the Egyptian Peoples Assembly, lower chamber of parliament, triggering the furor of the Egyptian regime which tried to introduced and approved notorious constitutional amendments aiming to sideline them, complete the process of transferring rule, make businessmen fear them, prevent them from helping the Palestinian people, prevent them from running for elections, distort their image and to undermine their popularity.
The participants noted that the supreme military tribunal declared at the very beginning that it its sessions will be publicly held and that it will not prevent any one from following them up. However, it denied access to it the elements of the media, satellite TV channels, delegates of human rights agencies and syndicates and international observers who suffered the pains of going to Cairo to attend the sessions held in the distant suburb of Hukestep.
Authorities violated the detainees judicial rights when they released and then rearrested them, ignored their right to have a medical care, didn”t release some critical cases for health reasons. Add to this the maltreatment against the defendants and moving them to and from the court in the early morning in a truck that lacks ventilation although most of them are more than 50 years old and they suffer from backaches and other diseases. The detainees are put in iron cages from 10.00 AM till 7.00PM to attend the court sessions. Also, no permits have been issued to defence lawyers to visit them. Their relatives and families take long distances to visit them or attend the trial session. The court sessions are adjourned for short periods of time, preventing the lawyers from having a sufficient time to meet the accused whose detention has been prolonged five times under pretext of completing investigations.
The speakers discussed also the unconstitutionality of the military court and the charge, the case of stealing-not loss of-some sequestered items during the trial. The contents of a safe have been stolen. Bonds were stolen and others were rigged.
Some speakers said that there is a regime and a state in Egypt there and that the regime tries to tighten its grip on the state. In other Arab countries, this sense of a state nearly has no presence. In Syria or Tunisia for example, the Muslim Brotherhood movement hasn”t turned into a popular movement. The question is how to move it from an elitist movement to a popular movement?.
Another speaker said that the case isn”t legally motivated and that it is a rather politically motivated to curb the Egyptian opposition, topped by the Muslim Brotherhood, and hinder its expanding role so as not to occupy a bigger space of reform in the country.
Dr. Violit Daghere, the chairman of the Arab Commission for Human Rights (ACHR), opened the seminar with a speech in which she noticed that the debate over Tawreeth (hereditary transfer of rule from president Mubarak to his son) draws the attention of the Egyptians, specially politicians. In such an atmosphere of rearranging the domestic situation, the security grip is unprecedentedly tightened. One year jail sentences have been issued against editors-in-chief of four independent and opposition newspapers accused by Egyptian security services of spreading false news and of spreading a rumour about the health of the president, allegedly threatening the national security economic interests. With this state of furor and rage, huge popular protests and demonstrations took to streets to condemn silencing voices and targeting freedom of the press and to show the support of all labor unions and popular powers with the freedom of the press.
The ACHR chief added that the labor protests unprecedentedly snowballed and included all professional sectors, breaking the barrier of fear among Egyptians who have been living under a state of emergency for more than a quarter of a century. The most prominent of these protesting demonstrations was the so called ” revolution of Egyptian workers” that started from El-Mahalla El-Kubra spinning and weaving company on Oct, 9th, 2007, in which 27 thousand workers demonstrated in protest at selling the public sector and the low wages and price hikes. Also, more than 180 thousand doctors threatened with initiating open sit-ins and general strikes unless government addresses their demands, including increasing salaries.
She also referred to the Ministry of Justice”s attempt to extend its control over the judicial authority, and giving it the right to refer any judge to a criminal trial, through passing a bill of the judicial councils that triggered a spate of anger and protest among judges and their supreme councils. This made the supreme judiciary of the State Council reject the bill deeming it unconstitutional and seeing that it conflicts with the council”s law and that it violates the judicial independence. This comes under an atmosphere of deteriorating freedoms and rights and as cases of torture to death committing in police stations are on increase.