Egypt halts military trials for civilians

Time of article published Sep 15, 2011

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Cairo - Authorities in Egypt have decided to stop referring civilians to military courts, in an apparent response to pressure from the opposition, the semi-official Al Ahram newspaper reported Thursday.

Around 12 000 civilians have been tried before military tribunals over the past seven months, according to local human rights activists.

Unlike with ordinary courts, verdicts passed by cannot be appealed.

The interim government has also pledged not to apply Emergency Law to politicians and opposition activists, according to Al Ahram.

Following a violent attack on the Israeli embassy in Cairo on September 9 and attempts to storm security buildings, the government said it would enforce the Emergency Law against acts of terrorism and anarchy.

Earlier this week, Egypt's ruling military council said the law, that gives police sweeping powers, would remain in force until June 2012, triggering massive criticism. The law has been in place for 30 years. - Sapa-dpa

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