By Federica Ibrahim
The first hearing Saturday of Alexandrian lawyer Mahienour El –Massry’s appeal against a two year prison-sentence for violating the controversial Protest Law has seen her trial postponed until 20 July.
On 20 May, an Alexandria court rejected El-Massry’s initial appeal and took her into custody.
El-Massry has won this year’s Ludovic Trarieux Award Thursday, given annually to a lawyer for contributions to the defence of human rights. The Jury of 24 European lawyers noted that El-Massry is serving a two year jail sentence for organising an unauthorised protest, and that she was also imprisoned under former presidents Hosni Mubarak , Mohamed Morsi and Adly Mansour. The jury launched an appeal to Egyptian authorities to release El-Massry ‘immediately and without charges’. On winning the prize, El-Massry has been invited to Florence, Italy, where she will receive the prize in a ceremony on 31 October.
Amnesty International released a statement on Friday condemning El-Massry’s conviction for taking part in a peaceful protest
“El-Massry is a prisoner of conscience, convicted and sentenced solely for protesting peacefully. She should be immediately and unconditionally released,’’ Said Philip Luther, Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.
Amnesty International has repeatedly called on the Egyptian authorities to repeal the protest law.
“The protest law allows the Egyptian authorities to ban demonstrations at their discretion and gives security forces a free rein to use force, including firearms, against peaceful protesters,’’ Luther said.
El-Massry, a labour activist and lawyer, was sentenced to two years in prison and fined EGP 50,000 alongside eight others by the Alexandria Misdemeanour Court for violating the Protest Law. She was accused of participating in an unauthorised demonstration and assaulting security forces. She was arrested while organising a protest during the trial of the policemen charged with the murder of Khalid Said in December 2011.