An Egyptian military court confirmed death sentences against eight young activists on trumped up charges on Sunday, EgyptWatch has learnt. Six of those sentenced to death are in custody, while two were sentenced in absentia.
The trial has been marred by enforced disappearances and torture to extract confessions, lawyers told EgyptWatch.
EgyptWatch is concerned that the six defendants may face execution in the same manner as the victims of the Arab Sharkas case, who were hanged despite evidence by Human Rights Watch that the charges against them were trumped up.
Military trials against civilians violate international law and multiple international human rights conventions to which Egypt is a signatory.
According to Human Rights Watch, at least 7,420 civilians have been tried in military courts since October 2014, when General Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi issued a new law that expanded the jurisdiction of military courts to include any attacks on public properties regardless of their military nature.
Below is a summary of the case:
Case name: Advanced Operations Case, no. 174/2015, Criminal Military Court, Western Cairo
Number of defendants: 28
Verdicts: Eight sentenced to death, 12 to life imprisonment, six to 15 years imprisonment, and two acquitted.
Place of detention: Tora high security prison
Date of arrest: Defendants were forcibly disappeared from 28 May until 10 July 2015 when they appeared for the first time in a video broadcast on national television in which they confessed to the charges.
Timeline of the trial:
28 May 2015: Defendants forcibly disappeared
10 July 2015: Defendants appear in a recorded video on national television confessing to the charges
26 August 2015: Defendants referred to military trial
6 September 2015: First trial session
7 February 2016: Eight defendants sentenced to death, their verdicts referred to the Mufti for ratification
29 May 2016: Court confirms death sentences for eight defendants, jail sentences for 18, and acquits two.
Circumstances of arrest:
Torture to extract false confessions:
Names of the eight defendants sentenced to death: