August 22, 2011

Members of EU Parliament urge Ashton to speak out against military trials of civilians in Egypt

An alliance of Members of the European Parliament from all parties have written an urgent letter to EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton demanding of her to express the EU‘s deep concern about the many unlawful detentions of protesters in Egypt as well as the ongoing military trials of civilians.

Marietje Schaake, MEP (ALDE), who is one of the MEPs that initiated the letter to Ashton, stated: “Civilians have the right to transparent and fair trials before independent civil courts, and should not be tried at all for merely speaking freely or for peacefully assembling.”

Against the background of statements made by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) which accused several youth movements and individuals of inciting violence and creating unrest and has sentenced thousands of demonstrators to years in prison by military courts without access to a lawyer, the MEPs spoke of a „chilling effect of the large-scale military inquisitions on free speech“.

Franziska Brantner MEP (GREENS), co-initiator of the MEPs alliance, pointed out: “The Egyptian authorities’ commitment to the democratic transformation of their country would be much more credible if freedom of speech and civilians’ rights to a fair trial were fully respected. Egypt’s leadership in the Arab world and beyond depends on the ability of the Egyptian authorities to protect and uphold the values of the January 25 revolution.”

(To read the lettter in high quality click on the pages)

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