12 things that could land you in military court under the new laws

Recent amendments to the Military Judiciary Law have expanded the possibilities for civilians to be referred to military courts. The amendments have been hotly contested for turning Egypt into a nationwide military barrack.

paper recently released by the No to Military Trials Campaign and the National Community of Human Rights and Law offered a historical look into military trials against civilians, and how constitutional articles have evolved to address the issue.

Most importantly, the paper detailed the varied circumstances in which both military personnel and civilians can be prosecuted by military tribunals.

The paper broke these circumstances down into 12 points. According to the report, eight stipulations are personal in nature, whereby people are sent to military court based on criteria such as their professions. Another two stipulations are based on the place of arrest, while another two are related to the type of crime that is being prosecuted.

“In application of these conditions, Egypt’s borders and buildings, factories and companies, roads and transportation have all turned into a military space where access or photography is prohibited, and even talking about it, except by members of the military authority,” the paper asserted. “Otherwise, as a civilian, you are subject to a military trial.”

More than 12,000 Egyptians have been tried in military courts since the January 25, 2011 revolution. Here, Mada Masr lists the 12 types of jobs, crimes and locations that would land you a military trial if you were accused of a crime.  

  1. Army officers. Serving in the army puts you under military jurisdiction, whether or not the crime you’re accused of was committed while you were on the job.
  2. Soldiers. The same condition applies.
  3. Students at military academies, colleges or schools. Even if you did not yet start your career as an army officer, if you face criminal charges, you’ll be tried at military court if you’re enrolled at an army-affiliated educational institution. Prior to the new amendments, students were not under the jurisdiction of military tribunals.
  4. Prisoners of war. Since the 1973 War and the subsequent Camp David Peace Accords with its long-standing enemy Israel, Egypt was not involved in any wars aside from the Gulf War of the early 1990s. If that were to change, however, non-Egyptian army personnel would be tried in Egypt in military court if captured.
  5. Members of special military forces formed by the president to perform a public, private or technical service come under the military court’s jurisdiction …
  6. As do members of army personnel belonging to allying foreign military missions residing in Egypt.
  7. Civilians working in the Defense Ministry or any military institution. Despite the various privileges employment at a military institution can provide, a small mistake can put you in trouble in front of a military judge. This is another criteria that was created by the new amendments.
  8. Members of Public Intelligence Services.
  9. Crimes committed at, on, or toward military camps, military barracks, military institutions, military factories, military ships, military planes, military vehicles, military spaces, or military shops will be prosecuted by military courts. This includes the military-run Al-Wataneya petrol station. The new amendments to the Military Judicial Law vastly expanded what falls under military property to include state properties and institutions.
  10. In another new legislative stipulation, if you are residing in a place close to the country’s borders, please think twice before committing a crime, as well.
  11. Crimes that involve attacks on equipment, weapons, documents and secrets that are owned by the Armed Forces.
  12. Illicit gains and squandering funds committed by army personnel.
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