Friday, 30 March 2012

Egypt's military courts have tried at least 43 children over the past year

Egypt's military courts have investigated or tried at least 43 children over the past year, according to Human Rights Watch, including the pending trial of 13 year-old Ahmed Hamdy Abdel Aziz in connection with the Port Said football riots. Children prosecuted in military courts have not had access to lawyers, and often to their families, until after military authorities have investigated and sentenced them, HRW said. It added that since coming to power in February 2011, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) has referred over 12,000 civilians for prosecution by military courts before military judges “though these courts fail to meet minimum due process standards.”

A 13 year-old boy was shot in the back and killed and scores injured in Port Said during protests against the decision to suspend the city's Al-Masry club for two seasons as punishment for its part in the orchestrated violence that killed 74 people in a match against Al-Ahly of Cairo in February. Angry Al-Masry supporters blocked roads and burned tyres near the Suez Canal Authority, and police fired teargas and live rounds to disperse the crowds.

For their part, Al-Ahly have said the sanction is too lenient. They have said they will boycott the League until further notice. The current season was suspended in any case in the wake of the disaster. The chief prosecutor has charged 75 people with murder or negligence over the violence, and the city's police chief was sacked.

For more news and expert analysis about Egypt, please see Egypt Politics & Security.

© 2012 Menas Associates

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