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Egypt court overturns jail sentence for 47 Red Sea islands deal protesters

However, the court upheld an EGP 100,000 fine for each defendant; lawyer says will present request to pay fine in installments

Ahram Online , Wednesday 25 May 2016
25 April Protests
Egyptian protesters chant slogans during a demonstration in Cairo on April 25, 2016, against the handing over of two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia (AFP)
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A Giza court of appeals overturned on Tuesday a five-year jail sentence for 47 people for participating in protests against the Egyptian-Saudi Red Sea maritime border demarcation deal announced last month.

However, the court upheld an EGP 100,000 fine for each defendant. 

According to Egyptian law, the defendants will serve three months in jail if they fail to pay the fine.  

One of the defendants' lawyers, Tarek Al-Awady, announced on his Facebook account early Wednesday that the lawyers would present a request to the court to pay the fine in installments.

"It is a procedure that is being used frequently and is always approved by the authorities," he said adding that the 47 defendants could be released as soon as they pay the first installment.

Thousands of people, including activists and politicians, protested last month against the government decision to acknowledge Saudi sovereignty over the Red Sea islands of Tiran and Sanafir.

The protests are believed to be the largest to take place in Egypt since President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi was elected president in 2014.

On 14 May 2016, a special criminal court circuit processing terrorism-related cases handed the 47 protesters five-year prison sentence and fined them EGP 100,000 each.

In April, the defendants were referred to court by the prosecution for "illegally protesting, attempting to overthrow the government, rioting, inciting against state institutions, disturbing public peace and disrupting traffic."

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