On Madamasr.com, the articles detailing the Shura Council case and the No Military Trails for Civilians movement pierce right to the heart of the issue of inequality in today’s Egypt. Whereas Herrera’s article detailed the evolution of the “wired generation” in the past two decades and how it contributed to the earlier revolts and the ousting of Mubarak, the articles about the Shura Council case give insight into the corruption that lingered in Egypt even after Mubarak’s ousting.

I could list the egregious civil rights crimes committed by the Egyptian government against its own citizens, but it’s shorter to instead start with the fact that many citizens are  being tried and convicted in military courts, because it explains how the government gets away with every other crime against its own citizens. First of all, to try a civilian in a military court is a huge civil rights violation in itself. The US equivalents are the people held at Guantanamo Bay, stuck in limbo in horrible conditions, while they wait for a trial that may never come. US lawmakers constantly argue over whether to try these detainees in civilian or military courts. Military courts, in these situations, are viewed so badly because they basically function as faux-justice courts where none of the normal proceedings of fair practice or judicial law actually need to be upheld. This holds true for both the US and Egypt, but if anything the Egyptians have it much worse.

It’s fitting for the Egyptian government to have citizens tried in faux-courts because the Egyptian government is a faux-democracy. They have an elected president and a prime minister but half of the time that president (it’s now Sisi) is put into power through a military coup and the other half of the time he’s elected in rigged systems or without running against any opposition. Under this semi-presidential, semi-tyrannical government, the military and police force are given the power to bring any civilians to military trial, under pretty much any charges they see fit. There is no system or precedent to say that a person guilty of any charge, talking back against an officer for example, should face x number of years. The judged make it up on their own, and sometimes a citizen can face years of prison for a “crime” that another walked for. This system is inherently oppressive, and it’s undermining not only democracy but the human rights of Egyptian citizens.




2 thoughts on “

  1. The problem of military interventions in matters of political justice pose serious problems as an approach to trials, justice and human rights. The military in any country has vision that is centered and does not allow for any variances in perspective. In any military trial one will find that justice is going to be remiss or altogether missing as its focus is on the military objectives. Certainly, even in the United States we chose to deal with rights and legal rights from the military approach whenever it is more convenient in achieving our own objectives, Guantanamo Bay Cuba and detainees … a glaring example of this approach.
    By claiming those jailed in Egypt as military entities or combatants it serves the Government/Military Regime well by providing a way to block those rights otherwise provided to citizens. This provides sadly, for the one-sided outcome of courts in which the military clearly acts with emphasis on squelching decent and retaining iron fist power over the oppressed. When you have a government run by the military…justice, courts, rights and sadly too education are not on the list of priorities. Power and maintaining power is the only goal.


  2. A fair military trial is an oxymoron. The trials are put in place, like you said, to maintain the illusion of democracy in a society which clearly has none. Repression can sometimes be more effective when it seems like the government is exhibiting signs of democracy, as opposed to priding itself on being openly totalitarian. I would argue that this is regime is a ‘democracy’ only in name: it is simply a smokescreen over what is clearly a military dictatorship.


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