Egypt’s Military Courts: 94 Sentenced to Death, 701 Jailed In 8 Yrs

94 persons were sentenced to death and 701 others were given prison sentences out of 1136 defendants in 36 cases that appeared before the military justice between 1992 and 2000, said a human rights study.
The series of transferring civilians to military tribunals started in 1992 when president Mubarak, as a military governor, referred 48 defendants in the two cases of ” returnees from Afghanistan” and “Jihad Organization” to the Supreme Military Tribunal in Alexandria in late October 1992.
The court sentenced, at that time, 8 defendants to death, including 7 fugitives.
The study, prepared by Maat Center for Judicial and Constitutional Studies, entitled “Military Tribunals Between Political Trends and International Legitimacy”, discussed the nature of the military law and the stages of the legislative development of this law in Egypt, till issuing the current law.
The study said that the judicial reform is the natural and actual gate for a political reform and is the main highway for reaching a state of the law and that the main criterion for a democratic state is a real respect for the judicial institution that protects rights and freedoms.
The study considered also that the current path of the Egyptian legislative policy is contradicting with the principles of legitimacy, separating between powers and independence of the judiciary, citing the military law no. 25 of the year 1966 in its current wording as one of the laws that reflect this gloomy picture; this law is an embodiment of the laws that violate all guarantees prescribed by the constitution and international covenants.
The study described the wording of the military laws as “bad”, and said that its texts are blurred, ambiguous and unclear, which is a serious flaw, specially with the huge powers given to the military judge including his power to give incidents more dimensions to suit his ruling and sentencing defendants to death in a way that flagrantly violates the principle of generality and a legal rule, in addition to violating the current article 66 of the Egyptian constitution stating that:” Penalty shall be personal. There shall be no crime or penalty except by virtue of the law. No penalty shall be inflicted except by a judicial sentence. ….”
It also accused the current military law of adopting the principle of inequality between the military elements and civilians appearing before it on the one hand and the civilians under its rulings and those under competent justice on the other hand, which is considered a violation to rights and guarantees prescribed for civilians appearing before the military justice, according to the study.
“Acknowledging that the 1966 military law was issued for incidents that justified its wording at that time, why is it still applied in that weird wording which violates the standards of a fair trial with its discrimination between those appearing before military justice while lacking the right to challenge its rulings”, the study wondered.
It asked how Egyptian lawmakers approve this law in its current wording without suggesting to amend it to be in accordance with the covenants in which Egypt is a signatory and that guarantee the right of a fair trial for all citizens.
The study concluded that the military law is reflecting, in its current wording, the dominating political atmosphere in which the executive authority has bogus and huge powers at the expense of the independence of the judiciary.
It called on lawmakers to rectify this flaw, specially that the punitive powers given to the military judge allow him to issue death sentences according to the authority that entitles him to be a legislator on the justice chair, something that violates the legitimacy of rulings of this law, making it a stigma in the forehead of the Egyptian justice, according to the study.
For his part, Ahmed Saif Al-Islam Hamad, a human rights activist and head of Hesham Mubarak center for human rights, said in statement to Ikhwanweb that this report reveals the disaster and double-standard policy facing the Egyptian citizen; the minimum human standards require that the one appears before a competent judge, to avoid fabricated charges like what happened in the case of Bani Mazar serial killer and other fabricated cases.
Hamad called on the opposition to focus its work on eliminating this judicial double standard that gives full powers to the executive authority and neglects Egyptian constitutional texts. 

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