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Egyptian court sentences 32 factory workers to 3 years in prison for illegal sit-in

Ahram Online , Sunday 4 Jun 2017

Thirty-two workers from Tourah Portland Cement Company were handed prison sentences of three years with labour on Sunday, having been convicted of crimes relating to an illegal protest earlier this year.

A Cairo misdemeanor court found the workers guilty of "using force and resisting authorities" after the order was given to disperse their weeks-long protest.

In April, the factory workers announced a sit-in to protest the company's decision to lay them off after 10 to 15 years of service. They complained that the company had failed to pay money owed to them, treating them as contractors rather than employees.

Maadi prosecution ordered the dispersal of the sit-in and the detention of the workers, who were charged with intimidation, resisting the authorities, assaulting an official and using force during the dispersal.

The defendants were arrested by security forces inside the company's factory on 22 May, ending the 55-day sit-in

Protests without a police permit are illegal in Egypt, having been outlawed by a protest law enacted in 2013.

Article 19 of the law stipulates a minimum of two years in prison and a fine of EGP 50,000 for those found guilty of illegal assembly.

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