Military trial of Egyptian blogger suspended after he agrees to apologyBy AP
Sunday, March 7, 2010
Egyptian blogger on military trial to be freed
CAIRO — An Egyptian blogger on trial before a military tribunal for slandering the nation’s premier army academy will be released and proceedings suspended after he agreed to apologize, his lawyer said Sunday.
Mohammed Mahmoud, lawyer of 20-year old Ahmed Mostafa, said his client has a week to issue an official apology on his blog for falsely claiming there was corruption in the army’s military academy in a post titled “The Military Academy’s Scandal.”
The tribunal agreed to suspend proceedings in return for the apology.
This means the case is not written off, and could be revived.
“If he doesn’t apologize, the case can be revived,” Mahmoud said.
International human rights groups criticized the trial saying the government is trying to silence a civilian for daring to criticize the army.
Egypt has arrested a string of prominent bloggers in the past who criticized security repression or were accused of insulting Islam and the president. But military tribunals are normally reserved for those the government perceives as a threat to its existence, such as terror suspects or members of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The engineering student was detained on Feb. 25 and charged with publishing false news and “tarnishing the military’s image” after blogging about a student forced to leave the academy to make room for a candidate from a wealthier family.
Criticizing the armed forces is illegal in Egypt and considered a threat to state security.
The lawyer said the academy investigated Mostafa’s claims, which it said were “incomplete.”
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