Jailed activist Mahienour El-Massry wins international rights award

Ahram Online, AFP, Thursday 26 Jun 2014

Lawyer Mahienour El-Massry, in prison for protesting, wins French Ludovic Trarieux Award

Mahienour El-Massry
Mahienour El-Massry, revolutionary activist (Photo: Mahienour's official Facebook page)

Egyptian human rights lawyer and leftist activist Mahienour El-Massry, sentenced to two years in jail for organising an unauthorised protest, has won this year's Ludovic Trarieux Award, given annually to a lawyer for contributions to the defence of human rights, AFP reported.

The award committee met in Paris late Wednesday, headed by lawyer Pierre-Olivier Sur and founder of the award, lawyer Bordeaux Bertrand Favreau. It decided to hand in this year's award to El-Massry, who was born in Alexandria, noting that she had been imprisoned many times under the rule of former presidents Hosni Mubarak and Mohamed Morsi.

The French AFP news agency reported that the award will be given in Florence, in October.

The committee is composed each year of lawyers from major human rights defence bodies and associations in Europe.

In May, a court in Alexandria upheld an earlier verdict sending a group of activists — including El-Massry — to jail for two years along with fining them LE50,000 for organising an unauthorised protest during the Khaled Said murder retrial.

Charges included organising an unauthorised protest, blocking roads, assaulting a police officer, and destroying a police vehicle on 2 December.

A "Free Mahienour" campaign was launched after her imprisonment and was supported by pro-rights groups and campaigns, among which is the April 6 Youth Movement and the Freedom for the Brave campaign, a grassroots movement calling for the release of all political prisoners in Egypt.

Egypt's protest law bans demonstrations not pre-approved by authorities. It was issued last November.

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