Egypt reduces sentences of young activists

2014-12-28 16:34
Egyptian security forces and civilians detain a supporter of ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi near Ramsis Square, Cairo, Egypt. (Sabry Khaled, El-Shorouk Newspaper/AP)

Egyptian security forces and civilians detain a supporter of ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi near Ramsis Square, Cairo, Egypt. (Sabry Khaled, El-Shorouk Newspaper/AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cairo - An Egyptian appeals court reduced the jail terms on Sunday for 23 young activists convicted of violating a law banning protests without a permit, judicial sources said.

The arrest of the activists in June while they demonstrated against the law which tightly restricts protests was condemned by rights groups as a reflection of an increasingly repressive political climate in Egypt.

Mass protests led to the ousting of autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011 and were used to express discontent with Islamist President Mohamed Mursi, who was toppled by the army last year.

Human rights groups have called the charges against the activists baseless and decried the case as an example of "show-trials" based on scant evidence and intended to warn citizens against defying government policies.

"Though expected in the light of harsh and unfair sentences in similar cases, we are shocked and dismayed at how political and human rights activists are being punished in Egypt for peacefully expressing their views," said Khaled Mansour, executive director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights where one of the defendants, Yara Sallam, worked.

Sallam, a 28-year-old lawyer, was not participating in the demonstration according to eyewitnesses, but was rounded up nearby and put on trial.

Sanaa Abdel Fattah, a 20-year-old university student and the sister of leading activist Alaa Abdel Fattah, was also among those arrested. On Sunday, their sentences were reduced from three years to two.

Rights and freedoms

Security forces killed hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood demonstrators last year at two Cairo protest camps seeking Mursi's reinstatement. Islamist supporters continue to protest in small numbers and many thousands have been arrested.

Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who as army chief oversaw Mursi's ousting, was elected president in May and has pledged to revive the economy and combat an Islamist insurgency in the Sinai.

Sisi has made less specific promises about upholding the rights and freedoms that many Egyptians took to the streets to demand four years ago. The security crackdown has expanded to include liberal and secular activists, including some of the leading figures of the 2011 uprising.

The court also cancelled a fine of $1 400 levied against each of the defendants and reduced the period of police surveillance following their release to two years from three.

The ruling can still be appealed in the Court of Cassation, Egypt's highest legal authority.


Read more on:    egypt  |  north africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.