Egypt law allows army to keep trying civilians

May 6, 2012 20:41

CAIRO - Egypt's parliament voted on Sunday to stop the head of state sending civilians for military trials, but rights campaigners said little would change immediately because the move would only apply to a civilian president and not the generals now ruling the country.

Pressure group No to Military Trials, created after a popular uprising ousted President Hosni Mubarak last year, says the army has carried out at least 12,000 trials of civilians, many of them arrested during pro-democracy protests.

Leaders of the street movement that toppled Mubarak say the legacy of his autocratic rule lives on in the trials, which take place behind closed doors, with sentences often meted out swiftly on defendants lacking proper legal representation.

The army, which is promising to hand power to a new president by July, routinely dismisses accusations that its trials are unfair.

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