Egyptians held by army during vote to face civil courts

CAIRO Tue Dec 11, 2012 11:17am EST

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CAIRO (Reuters) - Anyone arrested by the military during Egypt's referendum on a new constitution will face civil rather than military courts, the presidency said on Tuesday after the army was given powers of arrest during the vote period.

"Individuals arrested under these powers must be remanded to the office of the prosecutor and are tried before civilian courts, if the prosecutor recommends trial," the presidency said in a statement after rights groups criticized the arrest powers granted by President Mohamed Mursi.

"Rumors have circulated that the law allows for civilians to be referred to military courts and this law does not, in any way, allow for civilians to be tried before military courts," it said in a note explaining the army's role that will last until results are declared after Saturday's referendum.

(Reporting by Yasmine Saleh; Writing by Edmund Blair)

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