Parliament, SCAF agree on draft amendment to end military trials for civilians

The People’s Assembly’s Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee approved a draft legal amendment on Sunday that would prevent civilians from being referred to military trials.

According to state-run news agency MENA, Mamdouh Shahin, a major general of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, told the committee the ruling council has no objection to abolishing Article 6 of the Military Courts Law, which allows the head of state to refer civilians to military courts.

The military judiciary should retain the right to determine whether a case should be referred to military or civilian court, Shahin added.

The amendment would allow military prosecutors and courts to transfer cases they are considering to the public prosecutor, and would give those who have been issued final sentences for so-called “terrorism crimes” the right to appeal with the Supreme Constitutional Court.

Shahin said coordination has already taken place with the attorney general to transfer a number of military cases to civilian courts.

“Military courts were considering over 8,000 cases [from 28 January to] 11 February,” Shahin told the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee. "After that date, and in the absence of a judiciary, courts or civilian police, over 3,000 people were put on trial and issued reduced sentences, especially those carrying melee weapons or guns. As for those who broke into shops, they were later pardoned."

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