We, the participants to the NGO Forum in the 50th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and 24th African Human Rights Book Fair held from 19th – 21st October, 2011 in Banjul, The Gambia
Considering that since it took over from the police on January 28, 2011, Egypt’s military has arrested almost 12,000 civilians and brought them before military tribunals ;
Noting according to the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) said that between January 28 and August 29, military tribunals tried 11,879 civilians. The tribunals convicted 8,071, including 1,836 suspended sentences; a further 1,225 convictions are awaiting ratification by the military ;
Considering that we strongly oppose any trials of civilians before military courts, where the proceedings do not protect basic due process rights and do not satisfy the requirements of independence and impartiality of courts of law. Defendants in Egyptian military courts usually do not have access to counsel of their own choosing and judges do not respect the rights of defense. Judges in the military justice system are military officers subject to a chain of command and therefore do not enjoy the independence to ignore instructions by superiors.
Extremely Concerned at the situation of blogger Maikel Nabil, currently on his 60th day of hunger strike, who is serving a three-year prison sentence for “insulting the military establishment” and “spreading false information” – in fact, for peaceful expression of his views on his blog and on Facebook- Maikel boycotted his appeal trial before the military court on October 18th; the court-appointed lawyer appealed to the judge that Maikel Nabil was mentally unstable and the court ordered his transfer to a psychiatric hospital.
Concerned at the severe infringements on freedom of peaceful assembly which reached a climax on October 9, 2011, when the military police and central security forces allegedly committed unprecedented extra-judicial killings and acts of violence against protesters demanding rights for Coptic citizens, resulting in at least 25 deaths and 300 injuries;
Willing to support a peaceful democratic transition in Egypt and and recalling that from February 12th, 2011, the SCAF declared that Egypt would abide by its international obligations under the treaties it had signed, including the African Chater on Human and Peoples’ Rights, which obligates states to protect and ensure the right to fair trial and freedom of expression.
The NGO Forum requests the African Commission to adopt a resolution :
Calling the Egyptian Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to :
Done in Banjul – 21st October, 2011