Activists sentenced to 15 years in jail for violating the Protest Law Wednesday say those who participated in the 25 January Revolution are being targeted by the Egyptian authorities.
In their Friday statement, the activists added that their sentences were “part of a sequence of retaliations” for their political activity
Three of the 25 sentenced in absentia were detained outside the courtroom as part of the sentence that also includes an EGP 100,000 fine.
The remaining defendants announced in the statement their intention to present themselves at the prosecutor general’s office on Saturday morning in order “to start the procedure of their retrial”. They stated that if the Ministry of Interior claimed to have arrested them, “it will just be a continuation of the framing and falsification policies [they] are so used to from the Ministry.”
The defendants claim there is an attempt “to recreate the old regime with all its instruments of oppression”. This, they added, was achieved through “waves of disinformation and oppression trying to delete the ideas and aims of the revolution of 25 January, 2011”.
Their statement expressed “gratitude to all the revolutionary movements, political groups, civil society organisations and individual citizens” who have supported “politically, in legal counsel and advocacy and in the media”. The defendants called on others “to follow their example and to step up their responsibilities with regard to all those detained”.
The defendants pledged to continue their “non-violent campaign” to see the abolishment of the controversial Protest Law and the release of “all those detained unjustly”.
At the time of writing no decision had been announced relating to the process of filing for a retrial.
All 25 defendants stood accused of violating the controversial Protest Law when demonstrating against military trials for civilians outside the Shura Council building last November.
The Protest Law was issued by former president Adly Mansour on 24 November 2013 to regulate the right to peaceful assembly. It has garnered wide criticism from domestic as well as international human rights organisations since then. Several political movements have also criticised the law.
Among those sentenced is prominent activist Alaa Abdel Fattah, legally prosecuted during under former president Mohamed Morsi, for allegedly inciting violence against Muslim Brotherhood members, and former president Hosni Mubarak. He was also detained for two months in 2011 under the rule of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF). Charges he faced then were for allegedly assaulting soldiers during the attacks carried out by army forces against a predominantly Coptic protest outside the Maspero building in October 2011.