Egypt's new anti-terrorism law put into action by courts for first time

Ahram Online , Wednesday 16 Sep 2015

Three defendants sentenced in absentia for involvement in a 2013 riot

A file photo for Judge Mohamed Nagy Shehata during a court case in Cairo on Jan. 24, 2015 (Photo:Reuters)

A Giza criminal court sentenced on Wednesday three defendants in absentia to seven years in prison for their involvement in the Badrashin’s riots.

The riots occurred in the Giza town of Badrashin in 2013 in the aftermath of the violent dispersal of two sit-ins which supported ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

The three convicted face fines of EGP100,000 in addition to their prison time.

The court also sentenced two minors in absentia to five years.

Judge Nagui Shehata said following the ruling this is the first time Egypt’s new anti-terrorism law has been applied, with defendants referred to court after the law was ratified in August.

The prosecution found the defendants guilty of unlawful assembly, blocking a road, assaulting police officers and possession of weapons.

Egypt's president Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi ratified the controversial anti-terrorism legislation after it was drafted by the cabinet in early July.

The law has been heavily criticised for restricting civil liberties. The government has defended it as necessary in its battle against terrorism.

In the absence of a parliament Egypt's president Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has held legislative authority.

However, a parliament is due to be elected in October and November and once in session they will have to review all the laws issued by the president within 15 days.

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