Egypt NGOs denounce military trials of civilians

Four Egyptian rights groups Monday denounced the military trials of civilians accused of attacking soldiers, saying the army had convicted more than 60 people since president Mohamed Morsi's ouster.

The NGOs urged interim president Adly Mansour, who was appointed by the army following Morsi's removal, to "immediately amend the law in order to prohibit trials of civilians by military tribunals".

The respected Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, the "No to military trials of civilians" campaign launched in 2011 after the fall of Hosni Mubarak, and two other groups also demanded a new trial for 52 Islamists sentenced by the military last week to prison terms.

On Tuesday, a military court handed down a life sentence to a Muslim Brotherhood member and sentenced 51 more to jail for attacking soldiers in the city of Suez.

It delivered the verdict after just three hearings.

The verdict came exactly two months after the July 3 ouster of Morsi, who has been held at an unknown location ever since.

On Tuesday, Mansour in a television interview said that "no civilian was recently tried by a military tribunal".

But local NGOs say there have been at least two military trials, with a total of 10 civilians sentenced to two years in prison in separate hearings for carrying out attacks on troops on July 24.

Egypt's new authorities have launched a massive crackdown against supporters of Morsi, with hundreds of arrest warrants issued for members of the Brotherhood to which he belongs.

More than 1,000 people have been killed and upwards of 2,000 Brotherhood members detained in the crackdown.

The Brotherhood's supreme guide Mohamed Badie is also on trial charged with "inciting murder". His trial resumes on October 29.