Cairo court acquits dozens of protesters arrested on revolution anniversary

Ahram Online , Tuesday 31 Mar 2015

Sixty-eight detainees have been acquitted from charges of taking part in an illegal assembly on the anniversary of the 25 January uprising

Anti-government protesters
Anti-government protesters run as police arrive during their attempt to walk into Tahrir square in Cairo January 25, 2015 (Photo: Reuters)

A Cairo court on Tuesday acquitted dozens of detainees arrested during protests commemorating the anniversary of the 2011 revolt in January, a judicial source told Ahram Online.

The court found sixty-eight detainees not guilty of charges that included blocking roads, and violating a law that bans protests without prior police consent.The defendants, however,  were fined LE 50,000 each (nearly $6,550) for damaging public and private property, the source added.

At least 20 people, including two policemen, were killed in clashes between protesters and security forces on the fourth anniversary of the popular revolt that ended the 30-year rule of autocrat Hosni Mubarak. Rights groups at the time condemned the use of "excessive force" by the authorities to disperse the opposition rallies.

Authorities have launched a harsh crackdwon on Islamists since the 2013 ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, which has seen hundreds killed in street violence and thousands of others thrown behind bars. Several non-Islamist activists have also been sentenced to jail terms over allegations that include protesting without authorisation.

The interior minister had said that it arrested over 500 on January 25, in connection with the violence, accusing them all of being backers of the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood.

Hundreds accused of charges of violence and belonging to the blacklisted group have been exonerated in recent months.

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