Military trial for Egyptian blogger

Military trial for Egyptian blogger

CAIRO: An Egyptian blogger referred to a military court for a ruling had his verdict postponed until Tuesday, lawyers from the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) said. Ahmed Mostafa, 20, is being accused by the government of publishing false information on the country’s military establishment.

The network, which promotes freedom of expression across the Middle East, said it is one of the fastest trials they have ever experienced. Lawyers from ANHRI’s Legal Aid Unit have attended the interrogations sessions.

On February 25, Mostafa was summoned to the military prosecutions office in the governorate of Kafr el-Sheikh in the northern Delta region after he had been phoned and learned that a communique had been filed against him by the military academy accusing him of “publishing false information on his blog a year ago, on February 15, 2009,” ANHRI said in a press statement.

The military prosecutor then, apparently conducted a swift investigation. Upon completing his investigation, he decided to put Mostafa in detention pending further findings. The case was closed on February 28, and then transfered to a military court for a quick trial. The verdict was supposed to be handed down on Monday, but was pushed back a day for further deliberations.

ANHRI says the young man’s lawyers have been denied accesss to investigation documents “though he only practiced permissible criticism of an alleged incident on his blog.”

“We are shocked and extremely frustrated of the incident as a whole,” ANHRI said in a press statement issued Monday morning ahead of the trial date. “We are heading towards a military trial of a young civilian because of an article he wrote on his blog a year ago. Apart from the unfairness of the trial in principle, the incident manifests the Egyptian officials’ lies about using emergency laws against bloggers. In essence, currently there are two detained bloggers, Mossad Abu Fajr and Hani Nazeer, in one prison, Borg AlArab’s.”

ANHRI added that “it seems that the Egyptian government has decided to drive the war against bloggers up to the climax of unfair military trials.”

BM