Friday, April 27, 2012

Military junta jails officers who joined protests

Egypt army jails officers who joined protests


CAIRO (Reuters) – Two army officers who took part in protests against Egypt’s ruling generals last year have been jailed by a military court, an army source told Reuters on Wednesday.

Major Ahmed Ali Shouman, who joined crowds calling for an end to military rule following the overthrow of president Hosni Mubarak, was sentenced to six years in prison, said the source.

Captain Amr el Metwalli, who also participated in rallies around Cairo’s parliament and cabinet buildings at the end of last year, was jailed for five years, the source added.

“Ahmed Shouman was sentenced to six years in jail, charged with refusing to obey military rules and voicing political views in media outlets,” the army source said, asking not to be identified.

“This was a violation of martial law that bans military personnel from communicating with the media,” the source said, adding Shouman’s sentence will be announced formally at a court hearing on April 11.

Shouman also took part in the uprising against Mubarak that started in Cairo’s Tahrir Square in January last year.

He was pardoned for participating in those protests by Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, the head of the ruling military council that took over from Mubarak.

But the latest charges related to his decision to return to the square to join crowds calling for the ruling generals to hand over power to civilians.

El Metwalli, still in his first year of service, was accused of disobeying orders, abandoning his unit, wearing army fatigues outside his unit and publishing material on the internet that would demoralize the army during the protests that left 17 dead, said the source.

The military council, which took over from Mubarak in February last year, has said it will hand over to civilians by July 1. A presidential vote will be held in May and June.

*(Reporting By Marwa Awad; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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