A presidential statement on Tuesday said that any citizens arrested by the army during the upcoming constitutional referendum would be tried before a civilian court, rather than a military one.
The Armed Forces on Monday began to deploy troops in Cairo and other governorates to secure polling stations for Saturday’s constitutional referendum.
The deployment comes after President Mohamed Morsy on Sunday gave the military the authority to arrest civilians until the result of the referendum is declared. Under Morsy’s order, the military would support the police and liaise with them to protect “vital institutions.”
Morsy’s Tuesday statement was intended to combat “rumors that the decree allows the referral of civilians to military courts, which it does not in any way.”
The decree gave army officers the right to make arrests and transfer detainees to prosecutors.
The move was criticized by rights groups, who worried it would open the door for more civilians to be tried before military courts.