Alexandria court explains harsh verdict against female protesters

MENA, Ahram Online, Wednesday 4 Dec 2013

11-year jail terms are justified, court says, as the Islamist protesters wreaked havoc, instilled fear in the hearts of people, regardless if they are women or men

Egyptian women supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi stand inside the defentants' cage in a courtroom in Alexandria, Egypt, Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013. (Photo: AP)

The Alexandria court responsible for handing out sentences of up to 11 years in jail to 14 female protesters has said that its harsh verdict was justified, MENA reported on Wednesday.

The court insisted that the law does not distinguish between men and women. Both genders, it said, have the right to protest peacefully and thus those who do not will be sentenced accordingly.

The court stated that recent investigations proved that the Muslim Brotherhood incited more than two hundred of its female members to hold marches, block roads and disrupt public and private transportation. The demonstrations stirred chaos, paralysed traffic, prevented people from going to school and work and instilled fear in the hearts of people.

According to the court, the female protesters gathered with the purpose of wreaking havoc prior to the trial in late October for ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi. 

The investigations, according to the court, state that the women verbally attacked passersby and threw stones, leading to the damage of cars and nearby stores.

The court's ruling, which also sentenced seven minors to a juvenile detention centre, has sparked outrage in both Egypt and abroad.

The Cairo-based Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), in a statement published on its website, called the ruling politicised. The group warned that the ruling raises "doubts over the future of justice in Egypt" and said that it presaged a return to the use of judicial institutions as a political tool against the opposition.

Former presidential candidate and Nasserist political figure Hamdeen Sabbahi recently used a Twitter post to call on interim President Adly Mansour to pardon the young women.

Last Saturday, an advisor of Mansour said that the interim president will reconsider the status of the 21 women.

Mansour cannot legally intervene in the case until the final verdict is returned.


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