Rights Report Reveals Shura and Military Trial Violations

Rights Report Reveals Shura and Military Trial Violations

In its 18th annual report, the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) condemned the condition of human rights in Egypt in the year 2007.  It also criticized the turning over of the MB leaders to military trials and the obvious violations of rights that were committed during the Shura elections, confirming that Egypt had broken all the pledges it made regarding human rights in front of the world.


The EOHR explained that the persistence in emergency law practices for another two years according to article 179, and its codification as a constitutional exception, will adversely affect a number of rights and liberties guaranteed by the Egyptian constitution and international covenants concerning human rights.



The report revealed that the constitutional amendments Egypt had witnessed last year suffered severe defects in terms of its wording, content, and in its transgressions against the rights and liberties of citizens affirming that Egypt had not fulfilled its obligations towards the International Human Rights Council, whether on the local, international, or regional levels. 


The report also criticized the Egyptian government”s failure to observe fair and impartial trials, as evident in the military trials and in its persistence in acting in accordance with the Supreme National Security courts, citing the case of MB Deputy Chairman Khairat el-Shater and his fellow brothers as an example. 


Moreover, it denounced the trying of civilians in military courts, at the time when the Shura council had agreed to a modification in the form of the Military Rulings Law in April 2007  recommending the necessary transfer of civilians to regular courts, due to the military courts” neglect of basic warranties for fair and impartial trials secured by the constitution and international covenants such as the right of defense to look at the case files and resort to his normal judge guaranteed in Article 68 of the constitution.


Additional violations monitored included the amendment to Article 76 which prevented independents from entering the presidential nominations because of the ruling party”s control over the majority in all of the parliaments including the local ones, as well as the constitutional amendment of Article 88 which excluded direct judicial supervision over the elections, a matter that facilitates election forgery in the future.


The violations of humans” rights reached the extent of lacking respect for others” right to live as 93 death incidents occurred as a result of torture from 2000 to 2007 wherein the Egyptian prisons witnessed 14 death incidents, in addition to two others in the Borg el-Arab and Wadi el-Natron prisons.  It added that the number of torture incidents that occurred this year only, were 40 from a total of 226 since 2002.  Around the same time between 2001 and 2007, 217 incidents of arbitrary detention, including 15 in the year 2007, and 24 incidents of oppression within the police departments throughout last year only were monitored.  The report affirmed the mistreatment of prisoners and detainees, despite the constitution”s warrant, according to Article 42, that every citizen arrested must be treated in a manner that preserves his dignity, and not be harmed physically or emotionally.


Twenty four violations of citizen”s social security rights were also monitored, in addition to 34 residential cases, and 65 violations of the right to work in the year 2007 only.


Even the media could not escape the violations as the report monitored 90 cases of investigations of journalists in the general courts between 2002 and 2007, 22 of them in the year 2007 only. Not to mention the case of al-Jazeerah Channel”s television producer Huwayda Taha, and the government”s persistence in the banning of a number of books.


The right to assemble peacefully, guaranteed by Article 21 in the international Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, has also continued to be denied.  The report pointed out that in the year 2007 political parties had not seen any tangible improvement in the role of the Party Affairs Committee.  Also four parties have remained frozen since the year 2000, namely: Democratic Action Party, Social Justice Party, Liberals Party, and Egypt the Girl (Masr el-Fatah Party.


The report disapproved the incidents that occurred during the elections for renewal of 50% of the Shura council such as the security”s prevention of nomination submissions; the delay in announcing the final list of nominees; the arresting of some of the nominees and their supporters; in addition to the threatening of the nominees, tearing their signs, preventing the electors from voting, and buying votes.


The situation of human rights in Egypt was condemned by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, American Liberty for the Human Rights Situation in Egypt, all of which issued reports opposing certain violation incidents.