A civilian was transferred to military prosecution on Sunday morning after skirmishes with workers at a military-run gas station on the Suez road the night before.
Tamer Allam was travelling back to Cairo with his family on the Suez road on Saturday night when they had to stop at the military-run National Petroleum Company (NPCO) gas station to fill up gas, said his sister Perihane Allam.
Allam said her brother entered into a skirmish with the workers at the gas stations, military employees, who summoned the military police. She claimed that the military police physically attacked her brother before he exchanged curse words with one of them. The military police then allegedly arrested Tamer Allam from his car while breaking its windows.
Allam claimed they summoned the police to inspect the car yet the military personnel would not let them inside the gas station under the pretext that it is a military zone.
Military spokesman Brigadier General Mohamed Samir said he has no information about the incident.
Tamer Allam was accused of vandalising the supermarket inside the gas station, assaulting a military man and preventing him from his work, his sister said.
No Military Trials for Civilians, a rights group against sending civilians to military tribunals, condemned Allam’s referral to the military prosecution. In a statement released on Sunday, the group called for Allam’s release.
“Tamer [Allam] is a civilian who was using a civilian service,” the statement read. “Regardless of the authenticity of his sister’s story, it is Allam’s right to be tried in a civilian court which is fair, independent and neutral.”
The group added that military tribunals operate under the influence of the armed forces, therefore making the defence ministry responsible for appointing military judges. It said that such circumstances challenge the neutrality of any civilian’s trial in front of a military court.
Article 204 of the newly-passed constitution bans military trials for civilians “except in cases which represent a direct assault on armed forces institutions, their camps or anything that falls under their authority, alongside assaults on military or border zones, and military institutions, vehicles, weapons, ammunition, documents, secrets, public funds, or factories.”
The article was widely criticised by human rights organisations. The No Military Trials for Civilians group especially campaigned against the article during the drafting of the constitution and called for its revocation.