Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Egypt: Children on Trial

Stop Sending Juveniles Before Military Courts

March 27, 2012

"(New York) – Egypt’s military courts have investigated or tried at least 43 children over the past year, Human Rights Watch said today,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. 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.

The Egyptian military should end all investigations and trials of children before military courts, Human Rights Watch said, and should release or transfer all those already convicted to the juvenile justice system.In particular, the military should immediately release Islam Harby, a 16-year-old boy who has served nearly a full year in an adult maximum-security prison after an unfair trial before a military court in March 2011, Human Rights Watch said.

It’s bad enough that the SCAF is trying civilians in military courts, but to put Egyptian children through the military justice system is an even graver injustice,” said Priyanka Motaparthy, Middle East children’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The military has brought children before military courts without even the most basic protections, like access to lawyers or their families. Even worse, authorities have abused them in detention.”......."

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