Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat referred five civilians in Damietta to military prosecution Tuesday on charges of violence and disruption of state’s facilities, according to state-run Al-Ahram.
Investigations indicated that the defendants are supporters of ousted former president Mohamed Morsi and are “joining a banned group”.
In October, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi issued a decree that refers those accused of crimes against state’s “vital” facilities to military prosecution. Among the vital facilities referred to in the decree are “stations, power networks and towers, gas and oil fields, rail lines, road networks, bridges”.
The decree was issued three days following the attack on security personnel in North Sinai that left at least 30 dead. It will remain in place for a period of two years since the date of its issuance.
15 rights groups including the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression, Nazra for Feminist Studies, and the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, expressed their “deep concern” regarding the law.
Human Rights Watch has condemned the decree as well noting its “unprecedented expansion of military courts… [which] broadens jurisdiction over civilians”.