activist defense

on the intersection of activism and legal systems

Tag: egypt

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

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.

arrest warrants issued for two egyptian activists on charges of violating anti-protest law

Yesterday arrest warrants were issued for two prominent Egyptian activists, Hassan Mostafa and Mahinour El-Masry, who allegedly violated a recently passed anti-protest law. The activists had attended a protest during the retrial of two police officers previously found guilty of manslaughter for beating Khaled Said to death in June 2010. According to today’s Ahram Online article,

The protest law requires three days’ prior notification to authorities before any public gathering with more than 10 people can be held. Violators of the law are subject to jail terms and fines. The law also grants police the right to disperse protests, with birdshot if necessary.

Mostafa was just released from jail approximately four months ago. On March 12, Mostafa was convicted of insulting and attacking a prosecutor, but on July 7 the prosecutor withdrew his complaint. Mostafa remained in preventive detention, however, until his release in August pending a trial in November, in which Mostafa was acquitted of inciting people to block a railway and helping 10 detainees escape.

egyptian activist hassan mostafa acquitted of helping ten detainees escape from custody

On January 21, Hassan Mostafa went with a group of lawyers and activists to the office of the Prosecutor General in Alexandria, Egypt, to ask what would happen to dozens of protesters arrested the previous day. The protesters had been arrested following the trial of police officers accused of killing protesters during the revolution that ended the decades-long presidency of Hosni Mubarak. Approximately one hour after leaving the office, Mostafa, who had been active in Egypt’s opposition movement for several years, was arrested.

Mostafa was accused of insulting and attacking prosecutor Ahmed Darwish, but Mostafa denied the accusations. Yet on March 12, Mostafa was convicted. Mostafa was sentenced to two years of hard labor, though on June 15 an Alexandria appeals court lowered his sentence to one year. On July 7, Darwish withdrew his complaint against Mostafa, allegedly because prominent activists and revolutionary groups demanded Mostafa’s release.

Mostafa remained in preventive detention, however, due to a separate case in which the prosecution claimed Mostafa incited people to block a railway and helped 10 detainees escape. In August, Mostafa was finally released pending trial. Today the Alexandria criminal court acquitted Mostafa in that case.