Military to transfer its civilian detainees to Interior Ministry prisons

Egypt's military judiciary on Sunday decided to transfer all civilians in army custody at the Hikestep camp to prisons run by the Ministry of Interior.

State-run newspaper Al-Ahram's website quoted an official military source as saying that the detainees are charged with thuggery and possession of weapons during the security void that followed the January 25 uprising.

The same source told the newspaper that 20 detainees will be redistributed to the ministry's jails within two days, but this does not mean that they will be tried before civilian courts.

In March, Egypt's ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) enacted legislation which authorizes the use of the death penalty for acts of thuggery.

The law followed a wave of thuggery that swept the country after police were withdrawn from the streets before the resignation of former president Hosni Mubarak in February.

But human rights reports said a number of activists were tried under the new legislation after staging protests defying a military-imposed curfew in effect from 28 January to mid-June.

Egyptian activists and political groups have been increasingly critical of the prosecution of civilians before military tribunals. In August, the Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) called for investigating military abuses against civilian detainees, which reportedly included torture and "virginity tests."

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