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Civil movement challenges Morsi’s amensty claims

Group states several civilians still face military trials under Morsi’s government


Morsi claimed that all citizens who stood military trials were released, and that all those who were sentenced received full amnesty. (Photo by Halim Al-Shaarani\ File photo)
Morsi claimed that all citizens who stood military trials were released, and that all those who were sentenced received full amnesty.
(Photo by Halim Al-Shaarani\ File photo)

The No to Military Trials for Civilians (NMTC) movement has refuted statements made by President Mohamed Morsi during his national address on Wednesday, regarding the release of all militarily tried civilians.

A statement released by the movement on Saturday said that Morsi’s speech was “embellished with lies.”

Morsi claimed that all citizens who stood military trials were released, and that all those who were sentenced received full amnesty.

NMTC stated that a committee created by Morsi to investigate cases of civilians subject to military trials concluded its work by announcing that 1101 civilians remain in jail after receiving a military trial.

Shortly after assuming power, the president pardoned over 500 civilians who had been sentenced by military courts, the statement continued. It noted, however, that some of those pardons were later withdrawn.

In his speech, the president referred to an amnesty decree issued in October, which granted full pardons to all those convicted with misdemeanour charges or attempted crimes in support of the revolution from 25 January 2011 until 30 June 2012, excluding those charged with murder.

NMTC made it clear that the criteria in the amnesty decree upon which prisoners were pardoned did not apply to civilians facing military trials.

“Not a single citizen who had been referred to military courts benefited from the amnesty decree,” the statement read.

The movement also criticised Morsi’s statements that the 2012 constitution “now protects the nation and preserves freedoms.”

NMTC  noted that article 198 of the constitution gives the armed forces the right to refer civilians “who harm the armed forces’ interests” to military trials. They stated that after falling victims to military trials during Mubarak’s regime, the Muslim Brotherhood is now exercising the same “unjust treatment they received”.

The movement condemned Morsi’s statement that the “military laws have enough [articles] to punish those who violate the president’s rights, given that the president is the supreme commander of the armed forces,” and accused the president of “clearly” threatening the people with referring them to military trials.

Maha Ma’moun, a member of NMTC, stated that Morsi’s “threat” was out of context. She said that article 6 of the military law, which allowed the president to refer civilians to military trials, was cancelled in 2012.

“Only the armed forces have the right to refer civilians to military trials now,” Ma’moun said.

Presidential Aide Pakinam El-Sharkawy stated that the speech would offer “a ‘balance sheet’ for [Morsi’s] first year in office, which reflects the values of transparency and accountability upheld by the regime of the 25 January revolution.”

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