EGYPT: MILITARY COURT SENTENCES FOUR TO BE HANGED
May 17, 2011: An Egyptian military court sentenced a 17-year-old and three other men to be hanged for kidnapping and raping a young woman, the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) said.
The Egyptian rights group said it was "deeply troubled" by the sentencing of the teenager to death and called for the verdict to be overturned.
Activists suspect that thousands of Egyptians are being held and tried before military courts, often behind closed doors, since President Hosni Mubarak was ousted on February 11.
Egypt is ruled by a military council that has pledged to hand over power to civilians before the end of this year.
EIPR said the ruling flew in the face of the army's code of military justice as well as international law and Egyptian child laws, which protect defendants under the age of 18 at the time of the crime from execution.
"The death sentence issued against the minor illustrates the ignorance of the military judiciary in civil and criminal law alike," said Adel Ramadan, a legal officer at EIPR, in a statement.
"This raises strong doubts about the competence of the military judiciary to prosecute civilians in crimes under public law," he added.
An army official said the military did not interfere in court decisions.
"We trust that the courts are taking fair verdicts and that its goal is to achieve justice and security and ensure that everyone is able to live safely without being threatened by a criminal," he told Reuters. (Sources: Reuters, 17/05/2011)