Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Egyptian army's mask has slipped

Those in control have draped themselves in the revolutionary flag – but trials by military tribunals show how phony this is

Austin Mackell, Wednesday 22 June 2011

"The growing practice of sending Egyptian civilians for trial by military tribunals is one sign that the armed forces council now ruling the country is not serving the goals of the revolution.

Since 1962, when a law passed by President Nasser allowed civilians to be put before military tribunals, such trials have been used to convict political enemies of the regime – often on evidence too flimsy for civilian courts.

Following the revolution earlier this year, many hoped that such trials would cease. But the supreme council of the armed forces (Scaf), which assumed power after the fall of President Mubarak, has not only continued resorting to military tribunals but has been using them more and more. Now, rather than communists or Islamist groups, it is democratic activists, and indeed the population at large that have become the targets.....

This is not surprising considering the privileged positions the upper echelons of the army occupied under the old regime. Indeed, while the National Democratic party might have been the body of the old system, the military – where all three of Egypt's dictatorial presidents began their careers – was its heart.

Like some godawful zombie, Egypt's oppressive system refuses to die. The head may be gone, but the heart is still beating."

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