CAIRO: Egypt must overturn the conviction of three activists who were charged with violating the protest law, said Amnesty International in a Friday statement.
“Jailing government critics on trumped-up charges or for breaching the repressive protest law is part of the authorities’ ploy to silence dissenting voices and tighten their grip on the country,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director Amnesty International.
Ahmed Maher and Mohamed Adel, from April 6 Youth Movement, and the journalist and blogger Ahmed Doma are the first Egyptians to receive jail sentences for violating the protest law which entered into force November 2013. Under the law, all political demonstrations must first be approved three days in advance by security forces.
The three were sentenced to three years in prison, as well as a fine of 50,000 EGP ($7,185.) The court of appeals is expected to rule Monday its final verdict.
“All three activists are prisoners of conscience, detained solely for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression and assembly. As such, they must be released immediately and unconditionally,” wrote Sahraoui.
April 6 Youth Movement coordinator Amr Ali announced that the movement believes in protesting peacefully, and that the movement would organize activities on its sixth anniversary to reject the protest law and demand the release of political activists, Youm7 reported.
Political activist Alaa Abdel Fatah said March 28 that his top priority is to cancel the protest law, even if some people would call this “negotiations on terms of slavery,” reported Al-Shorouq.
Additional reporting by Samar Salama.