Egypt: Alexandrian activists face two years in prison

Well-known revolutionary activists from Alexandria have become the latest to face harsh jail terms and large fines for defying the anti-protest laws.

Lu’ay Al-Qahwagi, Amr Hafez, Nasir Abu-al-Hamd and Islam Muhamadein were sentenced to two years hard labour in prison and ordered to pay a 50,000 LE fine (£4,000) on 2 January. Mahienour el-Masry and Hassan Moustafa, both leading activists with the Revolutionary Socialists movement received the same sentence but were not present in court.

Their ‘crime’ was to organise a demonstration without police permission in violation of the new anti-protest laws which came into force late in 2013.

Mahienour and Hassan have long histories as activists – both played leading roles in building the campaign to expose the role of the security forces in the horrific murder of Khaled Sa’id, battered to death outside an internet cafe in 2010. The protests which followed Sa’id’s murder played a key role in galvanising opposition to Mubarak in the run-up to the uprising of 2011 which toppled the dictator.

Hassan was also prosecuted during Mohamed Morsi’s period in power. After he attempted to file a complaint about the lack of legal representation for dozens of protestors arrested on 20 January 2013, he faced a string of accusations including assaulting an officer and inciting detainees to flee. He was cleared of these charges in November 2013, only to be charged again under the anti-protest law. Mahienour, a qualified lawyer, was arrested and beaten by the police in March 2013, after she went with a group of lawyers to represent arrested demonstrators at a police station in Alexandria.

The sentences against the Alexandrian activists come after leaders of the 6th April Youth Movement were given three year jail terms by a Cairo court in December.

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