Egyptian court acquits protesters sentenced to 2 years in jail

Ahram Online, Saturday 5 Apr 2014

The protesters were arrested on 25 January 2014

Twelve Egyptians saw their convictions for taking part in unauthorised protests quashed on Saturday after a Cairo court approved their appeal.

The detainees were arrested during a march in Cairo's upscale Maadi district on the third anniversary of the January 25 Revolution, a day which saw large anti-government protests in the capital and in other cities nationwide.

In March they were sentenced to two years in prison.

The acquitted activists include members of the liberal Constitution Party.

After the January protests, the interior ministry released a statement saying that a total of 1,079 "rioters" had been arrested across Egypt that day.

A new law issued last November criminalises unauthorised demonstrations. Dozens of protesters have been arrested since for violating the law’s provisions, which mandate that all public demonstrations must first be approved by police.

The detention of activists for violating the law has fueled fears of an expanding crackdown on opposition by the country's interim authorities, beyond a sustained campaign against Islamists since the ouster of president Mohamed Morsi on 3 July 2013.

Among in jail after convictions of illegal protesting are April 6 founder Ahmed Maher and group member Mohamed Adel. Prominent activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah is facing similar charges.

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