Trial of military officers postponed due to change of judge

The trial of military officers who joined Tahrir protesters in November 2011 was adjourned on Wednesday after one of the judges on the panel was changed, the Al-Badeel news website reported. The trial is to recommence on 12 February.

Due to the change to the panel, the new hearing was scheduled in order to listen to lawyers’ pleas once again.

Captain Ahmed Shuman, one of the officers on trial, had joined a group of protesters demanding the speedy hand-over of power to civilians in November. Shuman handed himself over to the military police in late November.

Shuman had also joined protesters demanding the ouster of deposed President Hosni Mubarak on 11 February, the day before Mubarak stepped down. However, that time, the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) pardoned him following pressure from sympathetic protesters.

The new website said that Shuman faces several military charges, including "use of the internet to incite a coup against the SCAF,” the “failure to obey military orders and instructions," and "absence from his unit without permission."

According to Egyptian news reports, two other Egyptian military officers are being tried by the same court on similar charges after they joined protesters demanding the speedy transfer of power to civilians in November. The two officers are Captain Amr Metwally and Major General Tamer Badr.

Dozens of activists protested outside the Nasr City Military Court on Wednesday, while the trial was in progress. The protesters chanted slogans against military rule and demanded the release of the arrested officers.

Meanwhile, activists set up several pages on Facebook to support the accused. One page is named: "We are all Captain Ahmed Shuman and all of the army or police officers that supported the 25 January revolution."

The page called on all citizens to protest on Wednesday in solidarity with the officers and to demand amnesty for political prisoners, as well as for any officers who supported the revolution.

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