The Egyptian Observatory for Rights and Freedoms (EORF) said that the public prosecutor in Kafr El-Sheikh (to the north of Cairo) has referred two minors to juvenile court after a year of keeping their case on hold.
Mohamed Al-Hilou, Kafr El-Sheikh’s Attorney General, referred Khalid Mohamed Baqara, a 16-year old student accused of possession of a ruler adorned with the Rabaa sign of defiance, to a misdemeanor court in Case No. 373 of 2014 Minors. He also referred Yahya Mustafa Afifi, a 14-year old student accused of possessing papers with the Rabaa sign, to a misdemeanor court in Case No. 383 of 2014 Minors.
The two cases were to be considered Tuesday, September 23 before Kafr El-Sheikh Court of Misdemeanors, but they got postponed to a session on September 30, to announce the defendants.
Security forces arrested the student Khalid Mohamed Baqara on November 25, 2013 at his school, in the province of Kafr el-Sheikh, after his teachers found that he used a ruler bearing the logo of Rabaa, regarded as a symbol of support for Egypt’s legitimate President Mohamed Morsi, currently held captive by the military junta in Egypt.
During his days of detention and interrogation at the hands of the public prosecutor, Khaled Mohamed Baqara was held in several police stations, then in a military prison in Kafr El-Sheikh, in the company of six other children. He was released on December 22, 2013.
Security forces arrested the student Yahya Mustafa Afifi, on September 26, 2013 in the same city, on charges of "distributing leaflets against the police and the army inside the school" – that was the Rabaa sign. He was released the following day.
EORF added that referring two young teenagers, at the beginning of the new academic year, to court on charges that have no basis in reality or law, especially since the two cases have been criticized by local and international public opinion because they involve accounts clearly fabricated by security forces, is physical evidence of the security approach adopted by the public prosecutor.
EORF also confirmed that, according to lawyers, the Egyptian public prosecution had assured those cases had been shelved. This raises question marks about the revival and referral of the two cases to a misdemeanor court.
EORF said that what happened in these two cases is the inauguration of a new phase of Public Prosecution work where investigations based on illegal foundations are used like a sword hanging on the heads of opponents, amid total chaos in the judicial system.