The Istanbul-based World Bulletin has some eye-popping figures on the use of military courts to try Egyptian civilians last month:
A total of 666 civilians were tried and imprisoned by military courts in Egypt last month, a rights group said.
The Egyptian Coordination of Rights and Freedoms (ECRF) said that the defendants were handed down 9,649 years of combined jail terms in six provinces during August.
Some 255 civilians have been sentenced to life (25 years) in prison, according to the report posted by the Cairo-based NGO on its Facebook page.
“Another 83 civilians were jailed for 15 years, 149 jailed for 10 years and 106 others were slapped with jail terms ranging between three to seven years,” the report said.
The ECRF said that five children were also tried by military courts in August and handed down 29 years of combined jail terms.
The rights group said that university professors, lawyers and students were among those tried and jailed by military courts in Egypt.A recent International Coalition for Freedoms and Rights report on "Civilians' Referral to Military Courts in Egypt" can be found here. Excerpt:
Fourth note: Incompetency of military judges as judges in civilians’ trials
The Egyptian Constitution acknowledged the right of every citizen to resort to civilian judges. It also confirmed the independence and non-dismissability of judges who shouldn’t be subject to any influence in their judiciary. No authority shall have the right to intervene in any case or justice affairs. Article 67 of the Military Justice Law confirmed that the judges shall not be dismissed nor transferred. Article 38 of the Military Justice Law stipulated that whoever handles justice affairs must have a law degree.
Based on the above, we conclude that the judge must meet a set of criteria in order to be qualified as a judge: impartiality, independence, immunity and qualification. However, we find that military judges do not meet any of these requirements – they are not required to have a law degree as the Martial Law has required the necessary legal qualification for the Director of the General Administration of the Military Justice only (article 2 of the law), without requiring the same for the rest of the judges of members of the military justice.
In addition, the military judge is subject to all disciplinary regulations set forth in the military service law by virtue of article 57 of the Martial Law. The military judge is dismissible every two years in cases of non-renewal, or upon a decision by the Ministry of Defence by virtue of Article 59 of the Martial Law. [Footnotes omitted.]