Alaa Abdel-Fattah and others sentenced in 'Shura Council' retrial

Ahram Online , Monday 23 Feb 2015

Prominent activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah and over twenty others have been sentenced for their alleged role in clashes near the Shura Council in November 2013

Alaa Abdel-Fattah
In this Monday, Sept. 22, 2014 file photo, Egypt’s most prominent activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah takes a moment as he speaks about his late father Ahmed Seif, one of Egypt’s most respected human rights lawyers, during a conference held at the American University in Cairo, Egypt, near Tahrir Square (Photo: AP)

Activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah and another defendant, Ahmed Abdel-Rahman, have been sentenced to five years in prison and a fine of LE100,000 ($13,000) each in the so-called Shura Council retrial.

They were also sentenced to five years on probation.

Eighteen other defendants were sentenced to three years in prison and three years on probation, in addition to a fine of LE100,000 each.

Court upheld the original in-absentia 15-years jail sentence against four defendants as they were also not present in Monday's session.

Family and supporters attending the session on Monday chanted against the court and the government following the verdict.

The full group of 24 was originally sentenced in absentia in June 2014 to 15 years in jail and a fine of LE100,000. However, retrial sessions began in October.

Defence lawyer Taher Abo El-Nasr told Ahram Online that they will appeal the ruling with the Cassation Court, the highest appeal court in Egypt.

The 24 faced charges of rioting, participating in an unauthorised protest, disrupting the lives of citizens and exposing them to danger, attacking an employee while on duty and thuggery.

The unlicensed demonstration, over which the defendants were convicted, dates back to November 2013, when a group of activists demonstrated outside the Shura Council near the iconic Tahrir Square to pressure the constitution committee to ban military trials for civilians.

The protest was forcibly disbanded by security forces using water cannons and teargas. Videos circulated on social media and local TV stations showed harsh treatment from the police.

According to investigations published by state news agency MENA, security forces "advised" around 350 protesters to leave, while the protesters "insisted on rioting and blocking the road, disrupting traffic and people's lives."

Abdel-Fattah's younger sister, Sanaa, among others, was sentenced in December to two years in prison for protesting against the controversial protest law.

Hundreds of activists, including icons of the January 25 revolution, have been arrested and tried for breaking the protest law, as have many Islamists.

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