egyptian court finds seven activists guilty of violating new anti-protest law

by Tim Phillips

Today a court in Alexandria, Egypt convicted seven activists of organizing an unauthorized protest on December 2, 2013. The activists were sentenced to two years for organizing the protest and, during the protest, allegedly blocking roads, attacking law enforcement officials, and destroying a police vehicle. A new law, passed in November, bans all demonstrations except when protesters receive permission from police in advance.

The December 2 protest, organized without prior permission, occurred outside a courthouse during the retrial of two police officers who were previously found guilty of manslaughter for beating Khaled Said to death in June 2010. Said became the icon of the 2011 uprising against former President Hosni Mubarak. The seven activists convicted today had participated in that uprising, like the three anti-government activists convicted under the same anti-protest law on December 22.

In addition to the two-year sentences, the activists were each ordered to pay approximately $7,200 in fines. They are expected to appeal the verdict. Meanwhile, the prosecution has ordered the arrest of up to five of the seven activists, including Hassan Mostafa, who is apparently on the run.