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Amnesty: Military trial 'unfair' for Egypt journalist held in Sinai

Jan. 7, 2013 8:36 A.M. (Updated: Jan. 24, 2013 8:49 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Amnesty International said Monday that an Egyptian freelance journalist arrested in North Sinai last week should not face military trial.

Muhammad Sabry was detained on Friday by the army near Egypt's border with the Gaza Strip, and is charged with trespassing and filming in a prohibited military zone, which could land him in jail for up to a year.

Sabry had been working on a story for Reuters about regulations surrounding land ownership in border areas when he was arrested in Rafah, his wife told Amnesty.

The international rights group said military trials for civilians are "fundamentally unfair," and criticized Article 198 of Egypt's new constitution which reinforced the practice.

"It is particularly worrying that a journalist seems to be facing an unfair trial by military court simply for carrying out his work,"Amnesty Mideast deputy director Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui said.

Sabry is held in El-Arish jail and will have a hearing on Jan. 9.
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