A military officer who joined popular protests against Egypt’s former president Hosni Mubarak last year has been sentenced by a military court to six years in prison, an army judicial source said on Wednesday.
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.
“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 told Reuters.
Shouman, who was also given a suspension in rank promotion by the military court, was initially arrested following the departure of Mubarak for his involvement in Tahrir protests in the days leading up to the president’s ouster, the online edition of the state-run al-Ahram reported.
He was initially pardoned by the head of the ruling Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF), Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, but Shouman later participated, wearing his uniform, in demonstrations against the military rule, al-Ahram said.
Shouman was a vocal critic of the army’s ruling generals, calling on them to relinquish power to civilians.
Protesters have demanded that the military council which took interim rule from Mubarak cede power, accusing it of mismanaging the transition and stifling dissent. The council has said it will transfer rule to civilians by the end of June. The first presidential elections since Mubarak’s ouster will begin in May.