Egypt Independent

Female activist summoned on charges of ‘slandering the army’

The military prosecutor on Monday summoned Maha Abu Bakr, a lawyer and political activist, on charges of slandering the army during the disturbances in Abbasseya in July. The military prosecutor also requested video evidence relating to the incident.

Abu Bakr is the latest civilian to be summoned by the military prosecution. Her summoning comes only one day after activist Asmaa Mahfouz was summoned on similar charges. Mahfouz was released on a LE20,000 bail and will be tried by a military court within the next 15 days.

Some 12,000 civilians have been summoned by the military prosecutor or tried by a military court since the beginning of the revolution. The use of military courts to try civilians has triggered sharp criticism from human rights organizations, especially after the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) announced recently that only thugs and rapists would be subject to military trials.

Observers, however, believe that the ruling military council is returning to the practice of trying civilians in military courts as a matter of course. Furthermore, in an official statement, repeated by the chief of Cairo's Central Military Command, Major General Hassan al-Ruwaini, the SCAF accused revolutionary youth movements of “receiving funding from abroad.”

According to the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), a number of activists are currently being held inside the military prison following hasty military trials. These include blogger Michael Nabil, who is serving a three year sentence for criticizing the SCAF in one of his blogs.

The ANHRI demanded that all civilians against whom sentences were issued by the military court be retried in front of a civilian court. They also demanded that the SCAF take further steps on the path of reform, such as the accountability of the military police involved in human rights abuses against protesters, a phenomenon which has yet to be officially investigated.

Translated from the Arabic Edition