Egypt: today's jailing of three men under anti-protest law is 'tightening of the vice'
Two activists and blogger’s imprisonment is first under repressive anti-protest law
Amnesty International has said that the upholding of a conviction against three critics of the Egyptian government for taking part in an “unauthorised” protest is a further sign that the Egyptian authorities are tightening the vice on freedom of expression and assembly.
Earlier today an appeals court in Cairo upheld three-year prison sentences against Ahmed Maher and Mohamed Adel - both activists with the 6 April Youth Movement - and a well-known blogger called Ahmed Douma. The three have been sentenced to three years in prison with labour as well as a fine, with the court also ruling they should serve three years’ probation following their release.
The three men are the first Egyptians jailed for defying the country’s repressive protest law, adopted last November.
Amnesty has also expressed concern over reports that security forces beat the men during their appeal hearing, with Mohamed Adel and Ahmed Douma showing marks of beatings on their hands, legs and stomach. Mohamed Adel also told his lawyers security forces beat him during his arrest and subsequent detention.
Defence lawyers told Amnesty they will now try to challenge the judgement before the Court of Cassation, Egypt’s highest court of law.
Amnesty International Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui said:
“This appeals court ruling tightens the vice on freedom of expression and assembly and is yet another sign of Egypt’s growing climate of intolerance towards any legitimate criticism of the authorities.
“Repression goes unabated in Egypt. Those who were at the forefront of the 2011 uprising are now jailed for a mere peaceful protest.
“The three men are prisoners of conscience, who should never have been put on trial. They must be released immediately and unconditionally, with their convictions quashed.”
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