Egypt Court Upholds Jail Sentence of Prominent Pro-democracy Activists

An Egyptian appeals court on Monday  in Cairo upheld the jailing of three leading figures of the 2011 pro-democracy uprising, tightening a crackdown on secular activists opposed to the army-backed government

Last December, a court handed out three-year jail sentences to liberal activists Ahmed Maher, Ahmed Douma and Mohamed Adel, for protesting without permission and assaulting the police.

The verdict is the first under a law passed by the government in November that requires police permission for demonstrations.

The case stemmed from protests called in defiance of the law.

Already pressing a crackdown against the Muslim Brotherhood movement of deposed president Mohamed Mursi, the authorities have arrested a number of  activists in recent months for breaches of the protest law.

Critics see it as an attempt to stifle the kind of street activism common since the 2011 uprising that ousted autocrat Hosni Mubarak as the government proceeds with a new political transition plan.

Khaled Dawoud , a liberal activist, said: “I am not expecting at all this sentence, I am certainly expecting it to be overturned, that to me is very bad news.”

He stressed that such judgement would send a very negative signal to all the young people who supported the January 2011 revolution.

Gamal Eid, Human Rights Activist, in reaction to the verdict, said it was the rule of injustice.

Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the general who toppled Mursi last July following mass protests against his rule, was expected to easily win a presidential election next month.

Sisi’s supporters see him as a decisive figure that can bring stability but the Islamist and secular opponents say he has helped turned Egypt into a police state again.


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