Opposition groups call for int'l day to support Egyptian detainees Saturday

Ahram Online, Friday 20 Jun 2014

Revolutionary forces say they will also march to the presidential palace to denounce the protest law and call for the release of detainees

Mahinour El-Masry
Egyptian activist Mahinour El-Masry is facing three years in jail for breaking the protest law (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Opposition groups said on Thursday that they will march to Ittihadiya presidential palace in Cairo on Saturday to denounce last year’s protest law.

At a press conference, groups including the Way of the Revolution Front, the April 6 Youth Movement, the Revolutionary Socialists, the Strong Egypt Party and the Constitution Party said they will march in demand the cancellation of the law, issued last year, and the release of those jailed under its provisions, Al-Ahram Arabic news website reported.

They have also called for an International Day of Solidarity with Egyptian Detainees on Saturday, an initiative to support detainees by demonstrating in front of Egyptian embassies in London, Paris, Berlin and other cities.

The law, passed in November 2013, has been used to quash protests by supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi and secular opposition groups.

The controversial law was issued during the interim one-year term of former president Adly Mansour, who has now returned to his original post as head of the Supreme Constitutional Court.

The groups also condemned the latest sentences against activists and protesters in connection with a demonstration in front of the Shura Council that dates back to last November.

Prominent blogger and political activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah was sentenced along with 23 others to15 years in jail and a LE100,000 ($14,000) fine for protesting illegally, using force against the authorities and jeopardising public safety and order.

Other activists are already serving sentences or facing trials for breaching the law, which restricts unauthorised protests and places stiff jail terms and heavy fines on violators. It was contested by local and international rights groups.

Similar protests to denounce the law have taken place, but have been dispersed by security or attacked by local residents.

On Tuesday, a Cairo administrative court agreed to refer a case challenging the constitutionality of the protest law to the country's Supreme Constitutional Court.

The group also voiced their objection Thursday to the long periods of detention pending investigation or trials, the "inhumane conditions" in the jails and the "systematic torture" with accounts of assaults in Wadi El-Natroun and Qanater prisons, they said.

"The military authority in Egypt stands now on the remains of its opposition. It did not hesitate to unaccountably kill or to randomly arrest those who attempted to breach its oppressive fortress," the Facebook page organising the event read.

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