Egypt's political groups to attend protest law constitutional challenge court session

Ahram Online , Monday 16 Jun 2014

The case, championed by leftist lawyer Khaled Ali, challenges the constitutionality of the protest law which sent many protesters to jail

Shura Council
Security forces clash with protesters in front of the Shura Council, in downtown Cairo, Egypt, November 26, 2013 (Photo: Mai Shaheen)

Several Egyptian political groups have called on opponents of the protest law to head in numbers to Egypt's State Council on Tuesday to attend the second court session of a case challenging the constitutionality of the controversial law.

The case was originally brought by the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Right -- founded by rights lawyer and former leftist presidential candidate Khaled Ali -- to demand authorities to rescind the law that heavily restricts protests.

Passed late last year, the protest law bans all but police-sanctioned demonstrations. It has been strongly condemned by local and international rights groups as well as Egypt's western allies.

Last week, Alaa Abdel-FAttah, an icon of the 2011 uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak was sentenced to 15 years in jail over charges that include arranging an unauthorised protest in breach of the law.

The Revolutionary Path Front, a group that opposes the Muslim Brotherhood and the military, and the under-construction Bread and Freedom Party, called on opponents of the law to evidence their support of the case by attending the session. 

The move is aimed to send "a strong and clear message of objection to the [protest] law -- which is employed to exact revenge from the youth of the [2011] revolution -- and demand it be rescinded," according to the event's Facebook page.

Seven political groups will take part, including the now-outlawed April 6 Youth Group and its offshoot, the April 6 Democratic Front, the Freedom for the Brave campaign and the Revolutionary Socialists, Al-Ahram's Arabic news website said.

Last week, Human Rights Watch said in a statement following the verdict against activist and blogger Alaa Abdel-Fattah: "the judiciary has shown that it regards the assembly law as a carte blanche to criminalise peaceful dissent."

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