No political prisoners in military prisons, says judicial official

Major General Adel Morsy, head of the military judiciary, has said that there are no political prisoners in military prisons and that the military judiciary does not have authority to arrest civilians.

“Whoever claims the contrary must prove it,” he said.

Morsy’s statement came in response to the calls demanding that President Mohamed Morsy grant amnesty to political prisoners.

“There are 2,000 civilians in military prison for criminal offenses out of 11,867 who were tried by the military after the revolution,” he explained. “Those are not political prisoners.”

The major general called on the media not to discuss cases until a final verdict is issued in them.

Human Rights Watch urged President Morsy on Sunday to immediately end military trials of civilians in a report Sunday.

The halting of military trials for civilians has been regularly demanded by politicians and rights groups since the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces assumed power last February.

“President Morsy should pardon all those convicted by military courts,” the US-based rights group said, describing the issue as “one of the first real tests of the powers of the civilian president since the military handover to civilian authority.”

The committee that the president has tasked with investigating military detentions made since the 25 January revolution recommended on Monday the release of nearly 700 prisoners in military detention.

The committee’s report will be sent to President Morsy Wednesday. He is expected to approve the prisoners’ release in time for Ramadan.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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