An appeal hearing for three prominent activists was cancelled on Wednesday. Founder of the 6 April Youth Movement Ahmed Maher, member of its political bureau Mohamed Adel, and prominent activist Ahmed Douma have filed an appeal following their three-year sentences. The hearing was scheduled for Wednesday, but was cancelled.
Security officials cited heightened security, especially around the Police Academy, for ousted president Mohamed Morsi’s second hearing on Wednesday for the delay in the activists’ hearing, according to state-owned Al-Ahram.
The three were found guilty last month of protesting without the Ministry of Interior’s approval under the controversial newly-issued Protest Law, rioting, “thuggery”, using violence against Abdeen Courthouse security personnel and possession of melee weapons. They were each sentenced to three years in prison with hard labour and fines of EGP 50,000.
The ruling was met with criticism by a number of foreign and domestic groups. The United States Department of State said that the verdicts“should be reviewed” and added that the court decision “does not contribute to an open electoral environment or a transition process that protects the universal rights of all Egyptian citizens”.
The European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton was also critical of the verdict, saying the Protest Law “is widely seen as excessively limiting freedom of expression and assembly”.
Fourteen Egyptian civil society groups also condemned the original sentencing, accusing security forces of using the new Protest Law to selectively crackdown on political activists.