Statement from No to Military Trials on the Shoura Council Protest

A joint statement: more than 47 protesters were arrested, including nine members of "No to Military Trials for Civilians" group, two of whom are members of The National Community of Human Rights. All were arrested for demonstrating peacefully against the sanctioning of military trials in the current draft constitution

We hereby assert that we assume full legal responsibility for the protest arranged outside the Shoura Council on November 26th. And we call again for the prevention of the military trial of civilians in the new constitution. We hold the Minister of the Interior responsible for the safety of those currently still detained.

The 26th of November was a day reminiscent of the Mubarak era, as police forces arrested dozens of protestors in front of the Shoura Council, assaulting them, beating them and sexually harassing them.

This criminal reaction from the state was to a peaceful demonstration called for the by the group “No to the Military Trial of Civilians”. The protest was staged in front of the headquarters of the committee charged with the writing of a draft constitution. This committee has so far refused to legislate against the military trial of civilians in the draft constitution.

At approximately 4.30pm, half an hour into the protest, the police sprayed the demonstrators with a water canon, began grabbing as many of them as they could and attacking others with batons and with tear gas. Some police were wearing uniforms and some were plainclothes.

During, and subsequent to, the arrests protestors were severely beaten. Some female protestors were sexually abused while being held in a building adjacent to the Shoura Council. When protestors gathered again to show solidarity with their detained friends the police attacked them with shotguns and arrested even more. All of this happened without any violent reaction from any of the demonstrators under assault.

Nine members of the group “No to Military Trials for Civilians” were arrested and detained in a police truck. This truck drove around several districts of Cairo in a deliberate attempt to withhold the detainees whereabouts from their lawyers. After an hour of driving, they were placed into Police Station #1 of New Cairo.

One of the lawyers, Ahmed Heshmat, was arrested when trying to meet with the detainees - another incident that reveals the criminal and arbitrary nature of the Egyptian police force’s methods.

The signatories of this statement bear full legal and political responsibility for the call to demonstrate on November 26th. They are ready to appear in front of any judicial investigative body and hereby advocate further protests against the unjust nature of trying civilians in military courts. We are honoured to join the heroes who have been arrested by the state and call upon honest citizens to join us in insisting on the ending of military trials for civilians and the new anti-protest law.

“No to Military Trials” have struggled for nearly three years against the injustice of the military tribunal system and will continue to struggle to end this unjust tool and to bring to justice those members of the police forces that assaulted our colleagues.

We continue with the struggle of the revolution, to allow each citizen to live in a just and fair country.

No to the Military Trial of Civilians.