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Cairo sentences 13 Syrians for illegal assembly

The defendants, who were arrested back in 2012, have denied the accusations and say they were only gathered to denounce Syria's embattled president

El-Sayed Gamal Eldeen, Tuesday 10 Jun 2014
demonstrator holds a Syrian flag during a protest
File Photo: A demonstrator holds a Syrian flag during a protest against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, upon the meeting of the Arab Foreign ministers in Cairo February 12, 2012 (Photo: Reuters)
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Cairo's criminal court on Tuesday sentenced 13 Syrians residing in Egypt to five years in prison on charges of illegal assembly and threatening "general security with danger".

The defendants, who were given an arrest order in March 2012, were also accused of assaulting and scaring passersby and violently resisting and attacking security forces. The prosecution has ordered the summoning of seven others as well.

During questioning, the defendants vehemently denied the accusations, stressing that they hadn't committed any violent acts and were only "about to express their views" in opposition to Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad when they were arrested.

Egypt currently hosts an estimated 70,140 Syrian refugees who are registered with the United Nation's refugee agency, UNHCR. However, the figure could be as high as 250,000, as not all Syrians have sought formal refugee status while in Egypt.

While Syrians were unconditionally allowed entry before president Mohamed Morsi's removal last year, a visa and a security permit are now mandatory.

 

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