More than 150 given 2 to 5 years in prison for protesting Egypt-Saudi islands deal

Ahram Online , Saturday 14 May 2016

Egyptians demonstrate against President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi in Mesaha square of Cairo's Dokki district, April 25, 2016 (Photo: AP)

More than 150 people were sentenced to between two and five years in prison on Saturday over their participation in protests against an Egyptian-Saudi Red Sea maritime border demarcation deal last month.

A special court circuit processing terrorism-related cases handed 101 people five-year prison sentence and fined 79 of them LE100,000.

All the 111 convicted were charged of "protesting without permit, joining a terrorist group and disturbing the public order and security."

They were arrested in Cairo's Dokki and Agouza districts on 25 April after taking part in demonstrations denouncing a recent government decision to acknowledge Saudi Arabia's sovereignty over the two Red Sea islands of Tiran and Sanafir.

Ten of the 111 convicted were minors who were referred to juvenile court. The general prosecution has also released 64 defendants pending investigations.

Earlier on Saturday, 51 people were sentenced to two years hard labour over their participation in the protests in downtown Cairo.

Thirty-one people were present in court, while 20 were sentenced in absentia following their earlier release pending trial.

Those convicted by the court can still appeal their sentences.

In April, the defendants were referred to court by prosecution for "illegally protesting, attempting to overthrow the government, rioting, inciting against state institutions, disturbing public peace and disrupting traffic."

Thirteen minors were also referred by the prosecution to juvenile court.

Police pre-empted the 25 April protests, surrounding the Press Syndicate, where demonstrations were slated to take place, and firing teargas to disperse protestors before they could gather in large numbers.

The protests marked the second wave of demonstrations against the controversial deal after several thousand, including activists and politicians, rallied against the Egyptian-Saudi agreement on 15 April, in what some described as the largest protests since President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi was elected president in 2014.

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