Egyptian army jails officer who joined protests

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A military officer who joined popular protests against Egypt’s former president Hosni Mubarak and military rule last year has been sentenced by a military court to six years in prison, an army judicial source told Reuters.

Major Ahmed Ali Shouman, the first army officer to have joined the uprising that started in Cairo’s Tahrir Square in January last year, was charged with abandoning his unit and weapons and joining protests in military uniform.
“Ahmed Shouman was sentenced to six years in jail, charged with refusing to obey military rules and voicing political views in media outlets,” the army source said, Reuters reports.
“This was a violation of martial law that bans military personnel from communicating with the media.”

The sentence will be formally announced at a court hearing on April 11, but Shouman can appeal, the army source said.

Shouman was initially pardoned by the head of the ruling military council, Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, for joining the protests against Mubarak. But he returned to the square in November to protest against military rule.

Shouman was a vocal critic of the army’s ruling generals, calling on them to relinquish power to civilians.



The military council, which took over from Mubarak in February last year, has said it will hand over to civilians by July 1. A presidential vote will be held in May and June.