22 January 2012
End unfair trials in Egypt

Egyptian Uprising: Maspero on Mubarak's Last Day © Omar Robert Hamilton

Military courts have jailed thousands of ordinary Egyptians since the “25 January Revolution”. The trials violate some of the basis guarantees of a fair trial, like the right to an effective appeal.
In January 2012, the ruling military council said it freed 2,000 prisoners of military courts. However, others remain detained, still waiting for justice.
One of those released was blogger Maikel Nabil Sanad. He was imprisoned in April 2011 because he criticized the army. He told Amnesty International “I dreamed for the last 10 months for the day to be beside my friends in Tahrir [Square] again.”

Many still in prison are either waiting for their retrial after having appealed, are too poor to pay for their appeal, or simply do not know of their right to appeal. Appeals are unfair, and only examine the law and not the facts of a case. They do not meet international standards. And retrials are still held before military courts.
Military courts have ruined many lives. Amr Abdallah Al-Beheiry was unfairly tried in March 2011 after he joined a protest. He was finally freed after a retrial in February 2012, but his brother told Amnesty International “He has lost his job and his life has been destroyed just because he went out to defend his country.”
Military courts don’t deliver justice. It’s time to put a stop to them once and for all.


Call on the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to end military trials of civilians.

Dear Field Marshal Muhammad Tantawi,

I call on the SCAF to end military trials of civilians:

  • Stop trying civilians before military courts;
  • Immediately and unconditionally release any one detained solely for criticising the army and for the peaceful exercise of their rights to freedom of expression and assembly;
  • Release those facing trial before military courts or transfer ongoing cases to civilian courts for a new trial, in proceedings that meet international standards for fair trial and without recourse to the death penalty; 
  • Order fair re-trials for others already convicted by military courts or release them.
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