Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Mahalla trial resumes today

The trial involving the remaining 49 defendants from the April 6th strike resumes today. It was originally reffered by the Public Prosecutor to the State Security Court in Tanta on June 6th and the trial began on Aug 9th, when the defence managed to postpone the trial in order to be able to read the prosecution material. They didn´t manage to get the defendants out on bail though.

I´m much too tired to write anything half decent right now, crawing for bed, but i want to give you some reading material about the trial and then i will follow events more thouroghly as they develop.

Amnesty International issued a statement just prior to the second session was about to begin on Sept 6th, were the charges are stated, and includes:

Assembly of more than five people with the aim of disturbing public order and security; deliberate destruction of public and private property; ransacking and theft; violent resistance and assault on police officers during the exercise of their duties; and illegal possession of firearms.

If convicted they face up to 15 years’ imprisonment.

AI calls upon the proper authourities to end the processs in the Supreme State Security Court, which is a emergency court, without the normal legal safeguards for the defendants. AI calls on the authourities to hold the trial in a normal court of law that offers the defendants the opportunity of a fair trial.

Amnesty International is urging the Egyptian authorities to:

* rescind the decision to refer the defendants to the emergency court and order a retrial before an ordinary court and ensure they receive a fair trial.
* release immediately and unconditionally those protestors found not to have used violence; the others must be given a fair trial in accordance with Egypt’s obligations under international human rights law and standards.
* open a full, independent and impartial investigation into the killings of the three people in Mahalla. In particular the investigation should focus on the circumstances in which police used lethal fire and ensure that any officers or other officials responsible for using or ordering excessive force should be brought to justice.

Arabawy gives us an eyewittness account from the first court session in Tanta on Aug 9th here

Sarah Carr gives us an equally important account from the opening of the second session on Sep 6th here.

Sorry for the poor quality of blogging, but it´s more important that you have the tools, than me packaging it neatly right now.

You can also use the fustat search and look for the words April 6th, General Strike Mahalla and Burg al Arab and you will find more material.

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