Egypt activists to stand trial

A man with his hands tied to a chain takes part in a protest against the crackdown on activists and a new law restricting demonstrations, at Talaat Harab square in downtown Cairo December 3, 2013. (Reuters)

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)

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:42 - GMT 06:42