Wednesday, January 13, 2016

All Africa reports:
On 22 November 2015, the detention of Hany Mohamed Hassanin Sharaf, founder of the Civilized Alternative Party and former Egyptian Air Force pilot, was renewed for 45 days pending investigations.
While Hany's arrest appears to have been triggered by his political activism and in particular his work on the creation of a new opposition party, the military prosecution justified his detention by charging him with various trumped-up military crimes, using the pretext of his former occupation as an Air Force Pilot. Should Hany be found guilty before the Cairo Military Court, which postponed his trial to 17 January 2016, he risks to be sentenced to death without being given the possibility to fairly defend himself.
. . . Hany's family was informed that he was detained in a military facility and that he had been referred to the Military Court of Cairo under the suspicion that he had stolen and shared documents related to his former occupation as an Air-Force Pilot, accusations that were fully refuted by his family. Nonetheless, several military intelligence officers let themselves into Hany's house without any warrant in November and December 2015, confiscating all the documents that were related to his former work as a pilot.
Certainly, in the U.S., military personnel in unauthorized possession of classified material or in circumstances inconsistent with the proper storage and security of classified material could be subject to discipline or federal civilian prosecution.  The laws would apply to retirees or former military personnel.  One suspects other countries have similar rules and laws.
The military prosecution then charged him with "stealing flight maps and routes of aircrafts" and "disclosing military information via satellite broadcasting outside of Egypt," on the sole basis of evidence provided by the military intelligence and without allowing Hany's lawyer to consult it.
The news article further states that:
Trials of civilians before military courts are considered as "in breach of the fundamental requirements of independence and impartiality and of guarantees for a fair trial" by the UN WGAD, which reiterated its position in its Opinion 35/2014 regarding the detention of Khaled Hamza and others following a trial before a military court.
"Referring civilians before military courts has been increasingly used against political opponents in Egypt in the past year, especially since a Decree adopted in October 2014 has greatly extended the jurisdiction of military courts to judge civilians," declared Thomas-John Guinard, Alkarama's Legal Officer for the Nile region.
To remedy to Hany's situation, Alkarama solicited the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) to ask the Egyptian authorities to halt the military prosecution of Hany Mohamed Hassanin Sharaf and to release him immediately. Alkarama also invites the authorities to urgently repeal the decree that extended the jurisdiction of military courts to try civilians and to amend the 2014 Egyptian Constitution accordingly to end this practice.

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