Thursday, July 07, 2011

Egyptian Journalist Tried Before Military Court

Rasha Azab, a journalist for the independent daily newspaper Al-Fagr, was tried in a military court for an article highlighting the military treatment of citizens.  Rasha Azab’s article was about a meeting between the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) and an a volunteer legal group.  According to Azab, group members showed SCAF proof and evidence of military violations against civilians. 

The article openly condemns the violations of SCAF following the January 25 revolution.  She denounces the military trials of civilians and the virginity tests conducted on women arrested in Tahrir square.

Azab said that General Hassan El-Roweiny, the Egyptian army commander, was astonished upon seeing the images demonstrating the army’s violations.  Roweiny apologised to a female witness who was violated in military prison.  He added that individual actions do not represent the morals of the army.

Azab was faced with multiple charges, the main one, “spreading misinformation about the armed forces”.  During her investigation around 30 protestors gathered in front of the military prosecution building in Nasr City.  They were condemning the military and calling for freedom of the press and freedom of expression.

Although Azab was released after extensive questioning; the trial is still worrying for the Egyptian Independent Media - who could potentially face risking military trials for merely exercising her profession.  After her release, Azab immediately led chants of, “down with military rule”.

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