Skip to content

Egyptian to face military trial over critical blog

March 1, 2010

CAIRO (Reuters) – A blogger detained for writing a post critical of Egypt’s armed forces will face trial in a military court this week, a Cairo-based rights group said on Sunday.

Egypt’s military prosecutor charged Ahmed Moustafa, 21, with “disseminating false information about the armed forces,” Mohamed Mahmoud, a lawyer from the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, told Reuters.

Moustafa’s trial begins on Monday, said Mahmoud, who was present when the military prosecutor approved the charges.

Egypt’s emergency law, in force since Islamic militants assassinated President Anwar Sadat in 1981, allows indefinite detention and trials of civilians in military courts. Rights groups and Western states have said the law should be lifted.

Intelligence agents detained Moustafa on Thursday in Kafr el-Sheikh, a city north of Cairo, for posting a blog in February last year criticising the suspension of a cadet from the Egyptian Military Academy, Mahmoud said.

An armed forces spokesman said he had no knowledge of the case.

The academy is the premier military school in Egypt. Most males in Egypt aged 18 to 30 are required to serve up to three years in either the military or police force.

Moustafa’s brother Hossam, 27, said security officials met Moustafa last month and warned him against blogging about the military and made him provide the password for his blog.

“They changed the password and barred him from accessing his blog,” Hossam said.

Lawyers representing Moustafa said the academy had reported the blog to Egypt’s military prosecutor, prompting his arrest.

The United States has called on Egypt to release bloggers and activists detained under the emergency law, according to a U.N. Universal Permanent Review (UPR) report, which added that the recommendation in the UPR was not supported by Egypt.

The U.S. call was among several recommendations that Egypt considered inaccurate and/or factually incorrect, said the report, published after a Feb. 17 discussion of Egypt’s rights record.

The UPR process is conducted by the 47-member United Nations Human Rights Council. Under the UPR, every U.N. member country undergoes a review of its rights record once every four years.

(Writing by Marwa Awad; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: