Five persons are being tried before a military court tribunal in Cairo, including one soldier and civilians working in the media. The five defendants have been referred to the militray court “S28” in Nasr City, Cairo which began its sessions on February 24th, 2014
Who are the defendants?
1 - Mohamed Abdel Moneim Ahmed Nasr, 23 years old, a former soldier, detained since 11.11.2013
2 - Amr Mahmoud Ahmed Salama Kazaz, 23 years old, founding member of “Rasd” news network, detained since being arrested from his home in 11/12/2013
3 - Islam Mohammad Farhat Al-Homs, 23 years old, social networking manager and editor in “Rasd” news netowrk, detained since his arrest on 11.18.2013
4 - Amr Abdel Moneim Faraj Faraj Darwish, Chairman of the Board of Directors of “Rasd” news network monitoring (fugitive)
5 - Omar Mahmoud Ibrahim Sahin (fugitive)
What are the charges against each of them?
The first defendant is charged with illegally gaining access to classified material belonging to the ministry of Defense by entering the operations room of the fifth “smoke” regiment and copying video footage of a meeting between the Commander in Chief of the armed forces and the chemical warfare unit. This material is classified as pertaining to national security and is classified as top secret which may only be obtained by direct permission of the armed forces. By handing this video footage to the second, third and fourth defendants, all members of the “Rasd” news network, military secrets were broadcasted on the internet without permission. By copying the video footage, the first defendant, is charged of disobeying orders during service in the fifth “smoke” regiment.
The second, third and fourth defendants, who are founding members of the “Rasd” news network, are charged with inciting the first defendant and hence being accessory to the illegally gain of access to classified material belonging to the Ministry of Defense. The second, third and fourth defendants are charged of broadcasting this classified material on the internet through the “Rasd” news network.
The fifth defendant is charged with broadcasting classified military material consisting of 23 letters originating from the General Secretariat of the ministry of Defense.
The first hearing of the military trial was conducted in the presence of lawyers from human rights organisations, such as Kareem Abdul -Radhi from the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information. According to Abdul-Radi the second hearing was postponed from February 26th to March 2nd. The hearing of March 2nd was then postponed to March 4th to declare the fugitive defendants.
The military misdemeanor court held its first hearings on February 24th announcing the referal of the fourth and fifth defendants to the court and postponing the case to March 2nd. On March 2nd the court annonunced again that the fourth and fifth defendands were referred to the court as the defendands had not been informed and the hearings were postponed again until March 4th. On March 4th the military misdemeanor court sentenced that it did not have the jurisdiction to hear the case and referred it to the military prosecutor to take the necessary actions.
On March 16th, the case was further referred by the military prosecutor to the military criminal court which started its first hearings on March 18th. On March 18th, the military criminal court announced the referal of the defendands to this court
the case was postponed again to March 24th. This was repeated on March 24th and the case was postponed to a new session on March 30th to allow for the needs of the defense to call witnesses and to show videos related to the case
again be tried in front the military courts journalists and civilians depriving them of a fair trial before their natural judge .