Morsy orders formation of panel to review military detentions

President Mohamed Morsy issued a decree Tuesday ordering the formation of a panel of Interior Ministry, Public Prosecution, and military judiciary officials to consider the cases of civilians detained by the military.

Morsy’s spokesperson, Yasser Ali, said a copy of the decree would be sent to concerned bodies to prevent any delays to the panel's formation. His comments came in response to military judiciary and Public Prosecution statements saying they had not received the directive.

Ali had said Sunday that Morsy ordered that the panel be created as soon as possible to facilitate the release of detainees who have not been convicted of criminal offenses.

Thousands of civilians have been detained on various occasions since the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces assumed power when former President Hosni Mubarak stepped down in February 2011.

The activist No to Military Trials Campaign estimates the military has detained 12,000 civilians.

Activist groups have since then pressed for prosecuting the detainees before civilian courts.

In October, the head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, halted the referral of civilians to military courts in a decree.

Addressing thousands of protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on the Friday following his election, Morsy vowed to embark on efforts to release all detainees in military prisons.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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