An Egyptian military court is expected to deliver its verdict tomorrow in the case of a group of workers from Helwan Factory for Engineering Industries.
On the 3rd August, protests against poor working conditions took place at the factory after a gas canister exploded and killed a worker named Ahmed Abdul Hadi. Eight workers were referred to the military court on charges of stopping production and destroying factory property. Their defence lawyers have had only limited access to the case files. Egypt’s military courts are unaccountable and secretive; under the country’s 30-year emergency laws, however, they can try civilians, in a practice widely condemned by human rights groups. Amnesty International has released a statement specifically referring to the Helwan workers’ case – the statement was published on Al-Shorouk news but was then removed a few hours later. The Egyptian press are not reporting on the trial because it involves the military (the factory in Helwan is a military factory).