Egypt activists to stand trial

In the first case of activists being tried for protesting without permission

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Egypt’s public prosecutor referred three political activists to trial on Thursday on charges including protesting without permission, Reuters reported a judicial source as saying.

It was the first case of activists being charged under the provisions of a new law criticized for stifling the right to protest.

The activists charged on Thursday include Ahmed Maher, founder of the April 6 movement that helped ignite the historic 2011 uprising against former President Hosni Mubarak, and Ahmed Douma, another prominent dissident.

They are also charged with assaulting police.

On Wednesday, meanwhile, a Cairo court freed on bail 23 Egyptian protesters from secular youth movements who were detained last week for holding an unauthorized demonstration, Agence France-Presse reported judicial sources as saying.

The protesters were detained for holding on November 26 what was the first illegal demonstration two days after interim president Adly Mansour passed a law banning unauthorized gatherings.

They were protesting against a provision in the draft constitution that allows the military to prosecute civilians in certain cases.

The demonstration was held in front of the Shura Council in Cairo where a 50-member panel had been drafting the new constitution.

The draft charter was handed over to Mansour on Wednesday. He has a month to hold a referendum on it.

Judicial sources said the protesters were each freed on bail of 5,000 Egyptian pounds (about $725). They were accused of “rioting and breaking the protest law in front of the Shura Council.”

(With Reuters and AFP)

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