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Egyptian human rights groups condemn jailing of protest organisers

Activist Mahienour El-Masry was convicted of organising an illegal protest and sentenced to 2 years in jail on Tuesday

Ahram Online, Wednesday 21 May 2014
Egyptian activist Mahinour El-Masry (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Seventeen human right organisations have condemned the conviction of leftist activist Mahienour El-Masry for organising an illegal protest, blocking roads, assaulting a police officer and destroying a police vehicle.

Along with other eight other activists she was sentenced to two years in jail and a fine of LE50,000 in a court verdict on Tuesday for organising an unauthroised demonstration on 2 December last year, during the retrial of policemen accused of murdering activist Khaled Said in 2010.

In a joint statement, all 17 organisations asked the government to review the "controversial protest law" which was issued last November. It requires protest organisers to notify authorities three days in advance of a demonstration's aims, demands and route, imposing heavy jail terms and fines on those who break the law.

The statement also condemned all the verdicts based on the law, saying that the verdicts target Egyptian activists who have been protesting to advocate human rights and freedom of expression.

They also said that the law was issued during the absence of a legislative authority which should vote on such laws, a reference to the Egyptian parliament which has not been in session since prior to the ouster of president Mohamed Morsi.

Among the signatories were the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression, the Federation of Egyptian Women, and the Hisham Mubarak Law Centre.

A number of high profile activists have been jaield under the law. In December last year, a Cairo criminal court sentenced April 6 Youth Movement founders Ahmed Maher and Mohamed Adel, and independent activist Ahmed Douma, to three years in jail and a LE50,000 fine for organising an unauthorised protest and attacking security forces in Cairo in November.

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