Egypt: 15-year jail sentences for blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah and 24 others condemned

Blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah at a protest in Cairo in 2010 © Hossam el-Hamalawy
‘It’s deeply troubling that, just days into Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s presidency, courts are already jailing government critics’ - Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui
 
The handing down of 15-year jail sentences to 25 activists in Egypt earlier today has been condemned by Amnesty International.
 
Earlier today the leading activist and blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah and 24 others were sentenced to 15 years in prison on politically-motivated charges by the Cairo Criminal Court.
 
The 25 were sentenced on charges of stealing a police radio, attacking security forces, protesting without permission and hindering the work of national institutions. They had been tried in relation to a peaceful protest which took place outside Egypt’s Shura Council last November by the “No To Military Trials” group. The activists were protesting against the inclusion of a provision allowing the trial of civilians before military courts by the Drafting Committee of the Constitution. 
 
Amnesty International Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui said:
 
“It’s deeply troubling that, just days into Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s presidency, courts are already jailing government critics.
 
“By locking up one of the leading activists in Egypt, the authorities are sending a clear message that they will not tolerate anyone daring to challenge or criticise them.
 
“Protesting peacefully is not a crime. If held solely for taking part in a protest, the activists must be released immediately and unconditionally.”
 

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