HRW: ‘Morsy should be ending, not expanding, military trials of civilians’

Human Rights Watch: The law that President Mohamed Morsy of Egypt issued on December 9, 2012, grants the military authority to arrest civilians and refer them to military courts until results are announced in the scheduled December 15 constitutional referendum. Morsy should immediately amend the law to prohibit trials of civilians before military courts and require the military to promptly hand over any detained civilians to civilian prosecutors.

Law No. 107 of 2012, the 11th law Morsy has issued since taking over legislative authority from the military in August, grants law enforcement powers to the armed forces without any protections against the referral of civilians for military trials. Past Human Rights Watch research, primarily during military rule, found that military involvement in law enforcement was accompanied by serious abuses including excessive use of force, torture, and sexual assault.

“Any deployment of the Egyptian military to help maintain security needs to be accompanied by guarantees to respect basic rights,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “President Morsy should be ending, not expanding, military trials of civilians.”

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