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Blogger tried in military court

(ANHRI/IFEX) - On 1 March 2010, the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) expressed extreme shock at the decision of the military prosecutor to try blogger and student Ahmed Mostafa, 20, in a military court for allegedly publishing false information about the military establishment, after an unusually quick investigation, according to ANHRI lawyers of the Legal Aid Unit who attended the interrogation sessions.

On 25 February, the young blogger was summoned to the Kafr AlSheikh military prosecutor in lower Egypt, after he had received a call where he was surprised to learn that a communiqué was filed against him by the military academy accusing him of publishing false information on his blog on 15 February 2009.

The military prosecutor conducted an investigation after which he decided to put Ahmed in detention. The investigation was concluded on 28 February 2010 and the prosecutor decided to bring the young blogger to a quick military trial on 1 March.

Ahmed was court-martialed despite the fact that he is a civilian and an engineering student. In addition, his lawyers were denied access to investigation documents even though he only voiced permissible criticism of an alleged incident on his blog.

ANHRI said, "We are shocked and extremely frustrated with the incident as a whole. We are heading towards a military trial of a young civilian because of an article he wrote on his blog a year ago. Apart from the unfairness of the trial in principle, the incident reveals the Egyptian officials' lies about using emergency laws against bloggers. Currently there are two detained bloggers, Mossad Abu Fajr and Hani Nazeer in Borg AlArab prison".

ANHRI added, "It seems that the Egyptian government has decided to drive the war against bloggers up to the climax of unfair military trials".

ANHRI calls on all organizations defending freedom of expression in Egypt and the world to show solidarity with the young blogger Ahmed Mostafa, to urge the Egyptian government to stop this military trial immediately and to drop the unfair charges against him. ANHRI stresses the illegitimacy of criminal prosecutions in publication cases, not to mention military trials that lack basic fairness conditions. The trial was expected to be held on 1 March at the military court in Nasr City, 10th district, as per Act 113/1956, amended by Act 14/1967, which prohibits publication of any news about the armed forces.
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