Cairo court sentences 13 mosque workers to two years in prison for illegal protest

Ahram Online, Saturday 13 Sep 2014

Mosque workers were protesting a presidential decree banning unlicensed mosque preachers

religious endowments
The ministry of religious endowments in Egypt (Photo:Ahram)

Cairo's Abdeen Misdemeanour Court sentenced Saturday 13 mosque workers to two years in prison each for illegal protesting in front of the headquarters of the Ministry of Endowments.

Security forces arrested in April mosque workers from Kafr El-Sheikh who travelled from their governorate to Cairo to demonstrate, demanding they get registered under the endowments ministry after a presidential decree banned unlicensed mosque preachers. 

The decree, issued by former Interim President Adly Mansour, aimed to curb Islamists' influence on mosque preachers, and threatened prison and fines to freelance imams who practiced public preaching in mosques.

The defendants were also given a two-year probation period after they serve their prison sentences.

A protest law passed in November 2013 prohibits protesting without notifying the interior ministry at least three days ahead of any protest.

Islamists as well as liberal and leftist opposition activists have been slammed with prison sentences for violating the law.

A recent campaign was launched in solidarity with political detainees, calling for mass hunger strikes inside and outside prisons until the protest law is revoked and all charges brought under the law dropped.

A member of Egypt’s National Human Rights Council said the protest law is currently undergoing an amendment phase, and that the council has been asked to participate in the amendments.

Egyptian officials are yet to comment on the possibility of amending the controversial law.

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