Egypt to refer defendants accused of thuggery to security courts

Egypt's ministerial cabinet has decided to refer people who face thuggery charges to state security courts rather than military courts, Information Minister Osama Heikal said in a press statement Wednesday.

Since the overthrow of former President Hosni Mubarak, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) has charged military courts with trying defendants charged with thuggery.

But on Sunday, the SCAF announced the broadening of the Emergency Law to apply to the publication of false news, thuggery and banditry.

A large number of activists have recently been referred to military trials after having criticized the SCAF on a number of charges, which included insulting the military.

The trials have led to an uproar among those demanding an end to the trial of civilians before military courts, which they say do not guarantee fair trials.

According to official reports, some 12,000 people have been tried before military courts during the period from 28 January to 29 August.

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