An Egyptian Criminal Court sentenced 23 pro-democracy activists to three years in jail for organizing illegal Itihadeya protests. The convicted have also been fined LE10, 000 each and ordered to be placed under police surveillance for three years after serving jail time. The defendants include activist Sanaa Seif, daughter of the late prominent activist Ahmed Seif and rights lawyer Yara Salam a lawyer with the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights.
The defendants were arrested on June 21st, for their role in a demonstration which was heading to the Itihadeya Palace, calling for the appeal of the protest law which bans demonstrations without police authorization and punishes violators with imprisonment along with demands for the immediate release of detainees and the dropping of all charges leveled against them with regards to the draconian protest law for case number 9248 for June, 29. The verdict was announced
It is worth noting that among the defendants are seven minors who were referred to Juvenile Court and were ordered to be released however an appeal by prosecutors revoked the rule setting November 26, 2014 for a new hearing.
Nasr City prosecutors had sentenced the defendants to four days detention pending investigation in the Itihadeya case leveling them with a host of fabricated accusations including stirring chaos, illegal assembly, vandalism and possessing arms or fireworks.
The court's first session was held June 29, scheduling an appeal on November 9 after a request by the defendants' lawyer.
The defendants include: Ibrahim Ahmed Alsaeed, Ahmed Samir (Abo Samra), Mohamed Yusuf 'Miza', Islam Tawfik, 'Givara', Ahmed Oraby, Islam Oraby, Ahmed Albeely, Mustafa Mohamed, Hannan Mustafa, Salwa mohrez, Samar I
Ibrahim, Sanaa Ahmed Seif, Yara Refaat Salam, Nahed Bebo, Fekreya Mohamed, Bassam Mohamed, Yaser Alkot, Mohamed Anwar, Mohamed Alsayed, Mahmoud Hashem, Moamen Mohamed Radwan.
In response to the arbitrary detention detainees began an open ended hunger strike. Sanaa Seif and Mohamed Ahmed whose health was affected because of their detention and neglect to their health joined the hunger strikers. Sanaa's mother joined the hunger strike in support of her daughter and other detainees.
Related, Cairo's Criminal Court has postponed the hearing of activist Alaa Abdul Fattah and 24 others to November 11, the postponed Shura Council case (where protests took place two days) following the Itihadeya Presidential
Palace hearing. A fifteen year sentence was initially handed down in absentia and despite the judge stepping down it was reopened again.
Activists Leila Soueif and Mona Seif announced the escalation of their hunger strike in an official statement in protest to the continued detention of their family members stating that they would remain outside the Egyptian Supreme Court.
Human Rights Monitor calls for the immediate release of the above mentioned defendants and any other unjustly held political detainee. It also calls for the guarantee of a speedy, fair and transparent trial of all prisoners and the dropping of charges filed without evidence.
Furthermore, HRM urges the Egyptian government to amend the protest law ensuring freedom of speech and expression for all citizens and respect of all ratified international conventions.