Punitive Measures and Abandonment Faced by Conscientious Objectors in Egypt

I am posting this because I was asked several times recently about the consequences of failing to or refusing to do a military service in Egypt.

Mohamed Fathy helped me make this report.

The Egyptian national service law states that the males of the age of 18 till the age of 30, must be compulsorily recruited in the Egyptian armed forces, unless they are the only male son for their parents or if they were medically unfit. Sometimes the oldest male brother is temporarily exempt if his father reached the age of retirement. The military does not always give the medically unfit their right in exemption and recruits them, which leads to some ending dead or terribly injured and independent legal investigation is banned.

The military service is temporarily postponed for males after finishing high school if they studied in a university or an institute, but after finishing, they have to be recruited.

If for any reason, someone didn’t enlist in the army, he won’t have the military certificate which is always required to work, to make post-graduate studies, to make a passport, to travel abroad and from holding official positions. Practically ending one’s future, in other words: social death!

By not doing the military service, you would be legally considered a felon and this felon would be kept in your government records till the age of 42.

The one would be subjected to arrest and imprisonment, when the military or police checkpoints inspect his information by the name on the national identification card. By the law, the army can arrest and imprison the person from his home. Prison sentence can extend to 3 years in addition to a fine that can extend to 5000 Egyptian pounds. After that, the person would still be forced to do the military service and if he refused again, he may be imprisoned again and again.

When a recruit or an objector faces violations, the media is legally banned from raising the issue before taking permission from the Intelligence Agency, as these are considered military secrets. So, normally, the issue won’t be raised and the case won’t be known.

In the army camps, Islamic clerics are brought to make Islamic preachings and militarists themselves do the same. Contrary to the claims by the media and analysts who always claim that the military establishment is a secular entity and that its leaders are secular. This establishment highly discriminates based on religious and sect affiliations.

Conscientious objectors have no legal aid, as all the human rights organizations along with law personnel ignore us and won’t give us advices. All of the information we reach is by our extended efforts to do research.

There was a failed lawsuit in the State Council against the Minister of Defense, the Minister of Interior and the Minister of Justice, by their positions. The lawsuit was against illegally banning university students from traveling in the last academic year.

For me, the only way I may be able to regain part of my basic rights is after reaching the age of 30, after agreeing to be militarily tried, which I refuse. Then the military judge has the will to fine me and imprison me for three years, or choose one of the two penalties. But still, I would be banned for the rest of my life from holding official positions.

In another case, if you were nominated to be recruited as a soldier for one year, you would have to wait till the age of 36, and also when you refuse to be militarily tried. After finishing the recruitment phase, they become in the reserve forces and the army can call them up till the age of 35.

If you were a male and wanted to be hired in Egypt, you must have a military certificate, stating that you were exempt, finished the military service or have a 3-year postponement and in the last case you won’t be able to work after that period. Longer reserve periods apply which would make the nominated military officer be in the reserve till the age of 45.

Finally, if you were dishonorably discharged of the military and had a military certificate stating that you were bad, you won’t be able to have a job with it.

See also:
* My conscientious objection declaration
* Mohamed Fathy’s conscientious objection declaration
* Conscientious Objection announcement of Amir Eid (2016-10-15)