Activists to initiate week-long protest demanding release of Doma, Maher, Adel
Ahmed Doma - YOUM7/Maher Iskandar
By RANY MOSTAFA

CAIRO: Several political parties called for interim President Adly Mansour to issue a presidential pardon for activists Ahmed Maher, Mohamed Adel and Ahmed Doma, whose three-year prison sentences were upheld on Monday by a Cairo court, according to Al-Ahram.

The Tuesday press conference held at Dostour Party headquarters was attended by representatives of seven political parties and groups, including the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, April 6 Youth Movement and the Popular Current Movement.

They called on Mansour to revoke the protest law responsible for the three activists’ sentences.

Maher and Doma were sentenced to three-years in prison by the Abdeen Misdemeanor Court on charges of “orchestrating illegal protests and assaulting police officers” in November 2013.

Dostour Party leader Hala Shukrallah said that the patriotism of the three activists is out of discussion.

“They are the same people who carried the revolution on their shoulders, thus we call on interim President Adly Mansour to grant them presidential pardon given that the litigation procedures will take a long time,” said Shukrallah.

Several female activists, including Doma’s wife, Egyptian Socialist Party member Karima el-Hefnawy and National Council for Human Rights member Shahenda Maklad have started an open ended sit-in in front of Ithadeya presidential palace in reaction to Monday’s verdict.

Mohamed Yousef, a member of the April 6 Youth Movement’s political bureau, said that several political powers agreed to hold a press conference Thursday at the Press Syndicate to announce a timeline of the week-long protests, reported Al-Ahram.

The U.S. voiced concern over the court ruling. “The United States is deeply troubled by the court ruling,” State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said at a briefing in Washington following the verdict.

“Their continued imprisonment under a law that severely restricts the universal right to peaceful assembly and expression runs counter the Egyptian Government’s commitment to fostering an open electoral environment and a transition process that protects the universal rights of all Egyptians,” Psaki added.

In a Tuesday statement, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said that it is not for the United States or others to accept, reject or comment on a court ruling in Egypt.

“The U.S. comments are neither worth commenting on or responding to,” the statement read.

Hugh Robertson, the UK’s Minister of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, also voiced concern over the court ruling and said, “The freedom to protest peacefully is an integral part of achieving a successful transition to democracy in Egypt.”

Head of Egyptian Organization for Human Rights Hafez Abu Saeda expressed his concerns that the protest law would be used to criminalize peaceful protests and the right to assembly.

“If the protest law conflicts with the constitution, then it must be complied with the provisions of the constitution,” said Abu Saeda.

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