Trial of 23 Egyptian activists for breaching protest law resumes Saturday

Ahram Online, Friday 12 Sep 2014

Protesters include Yara Sallam, a human rights lawyer, and two photographers

yara Sallam
A still photo from video for activist Yara Sallam

The trial of 23 people charged with violating a controversial law restricting protests will resume on 13 September.

The defendants include photojournalist Abdel-Rahman Mohamed, who works for Al-Badil news site, human rights lawyer Yara Sallam, and photographer Rania El-Sheikh.

The 23 defendants were arrested in June at a demonstration against the law, which was issued last November. 

The law, issued late last year, bans protest without prior police authorisation and gives security forces the right to bar any public gathering of more than ten people. Hundreds of people, including several prominent activists, have been charged and convicted under its provisions.

Those servicng sentences after being convicted of breaking the law include Ahmed Maher and Mohamed Adel of the April 6 Youth Movement, Ahmed Douma of the Egyptian Popular Current, and Mahinour El-Masry of the Revolutionary Socialists.

Several Egyptian political parties said on Friday that they will temporarily join an ongoing hunger strike campaign in protest at politcal detention on 13 September. The campaign is being waged by 60 prisoners and 70 supporters and activists, according to the Freedom for the Brave campaign.

Participating parties listed in the statement include the Constitution Party, the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, the Karama Party, the Socialist Popular Alliance Party, the Egypt Freedom Party and the Bread and Freedom Party, as well as the Popular Current, founded by former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi.

A a group of Egyptian journalists has also called for a three-day hunger strike and a sit-in, to begin on Saturday at the Journalists Syndicate in downtown Cairo, in solidarity with those detained in breaches of the widely criticised law.

Among the hunger-striking prisoners are Alaa Abdel Fattah and Ahmed Douma, both well-known youth activists associated with the 2011 revolution, as well as two supporters of Mohamed Morsi, Mohamed Sultan--whose health has been failing after over 200 days on hunger strike--and Ibrahim El-Yamani, on strike for over 4 months.

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