An Egyptian military court in the Suez Governorate, located in northeast Egypt, has set a court hearing on 17 September to try eight leaders of the Islamic Group, the Muslim Brotherhood, and other supporters of elected President Mohammed Morsi. The defendants are being tried on charges of attacking the army in Suez, burning the army's armoured vehicles, and inciting the burning of two churches on 14 August.
Ashraf Tawfiq, the defendants' lawyer, announced: "The military court has informed me that the trial for the eight defendants is set for 17 September, including leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamic Group, and leaders of Salafi groups. Among the defendants are Ahmed Chadli, member of the Muslim Brotherhood; Kamel Toleibah, a Salafi leader; and Al Kurdi Fawzy, a leader of the Islamic Group."
Tawfiq pointed out that this is the second military trial in Suez for supporters of Morsi.
Last Tuesday the military court in Suez ruled against 64 Morsi supporters. The court also ruled 12 defendants not guilty, gave a life sentence (25 years) to one, an aggravated imprisonment (15 years) against three, and sentenced 48 others to terms ranging between five and ten years." The defendants were charged of "burning the army's armoured vehicles, burning churches and incitement to murder and violence" during protests in the Suez Governorate against the deposition of President Morsi.
This is the first judicial ruling since the coup against President Morsi on 3 July, and the first military ruling issued against members of the Muslim Brotherhood since 2008.
According to article 198 of the Constitution, which has been temporarily disabled after the coup against Morsi, "no civilian may be tried before military courts, except in crimes that are harmful to the armed forces."
Helmi Mursi, the lawyer for a number of the defendants, said that he has petitioned to the field commander of the Third Army, General Osama Askar, in order to reduce the sentences or halt them; pointing out that other lawyers will also file a similar request.
Mursi told Anadolu news agency that, "We have confirmed through the petition that the defendants who have been tried before the military court in Suez did not commit crimes" under the jurisdiction of the military courts, adding that if the army chief refused the petition the lawyers will challenge the ruling before the military court in Suez.