Human Rights Watch on Tuesday called on Egypt’s military rulers to end all investigations and trials of children before military courts.
The New York-based rights watchdog said that together with an Egyptian activist group, No Military Trials for Civilians, it had documented 43 cases of juveniles taken before military prosecutors since a popular uprising last year toppled president Hosni Mubarak and saw the military take power.
“The Egyptian military should end all investigations and trials of children before military courts and should release or transfer those already convicted to the juvenile justice system,” HRW said in a statement.
Since coming to power, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) has referred over 12,000 civilians for prosecution by military courts, it said.
“It’s bad enough that the SCAF is trying civilians in military courts, but to put Egyptian children through the military justice system is an even graver injustice,” said Priyanka Motaparthy, Middle East children’s rights researcher at HRW.
“The military has brought children before military courts without even the most basic protections, like access to lawyers or their families. Even worse, authorities have abused them in detention,” Motaparthy said.
Some children have remained in detention for up to a year, the group said.
HRW called on the military to publicly release data on the cases of all civilians tried before military courts, including children.