CAIRO: Qasr el-Nil Court of Misdemeanors ruled in favor of cancelling an earlier verdict of sentencing 15 members of Ultras Revolutionary movement to two years in prison, Youm7 reported Sunday.
The defendants, who were on trial for allegedly breaking into Tahrir Square, will be released on a 50,000 EGP bail each while two others were declared innocent by court.
The 15 Ultras members were arrested on Jan. 15 during an organized rally near Tahrir Square, Ultras Revolutionary reported on their official page on Facebook Sunday.
The case was popular because the members and their lawyers claimed they were gathered peacefully distributing slogans and scarves in a garden near the square. They were arrested upon allegations of violating the protest law.
However, police charged them with a break-in attempt into the square, joining the banned Muslim Brotherhood organization, obstructing the referendum on the constitution – which was taking place that day-, assaulting authorities, injuring four police officers, attempting to obstruct roads, and damaging public institutions, “Ultras Revolutionary” reported on Facebook, after creating an event page to today’s ruling calling for support.
“Thank God our men will be released but we must not forget that a total amount of 750,000 EGP needs to be paid and their parents alone will not be able to afford that. We must contribute with whatever we can,” Ultras Revolutionary posted.
Defense lawyers previously advocated that there was no evidence to the accusations, adding that the procedures of their arrest as well as the police officers’ testimonies during investigations were flawed. Lawyers from the Haqaneya Center for Lawyers and Law defended Ultras Revolutionary and refuted the protest law, saying it contradicts the constitution.
Interim President Adly Mansour issued a protest law in November 2013 following the approval of the Cabinet amid wide controversy by human rights groups and revolutionary forces because they feared a new form of state oppression against the right to peaceful protest and freedom of expression.
While the law originally aimed to counter violent protests organized by Brotherhood supporters throughout Egypt following the ousting of former President Mohamed Morsi on July 3, it has been systematically used by police forces in a crackdown on political activists.
April 6 Youth Movement, one of the major youth political movements, protested repeatedly against the law since many of its members were sentenced jailed and facing trial for allegedly “violating the protest law.”
Additional reporting by Ahmed Ismail and Amer Mostafa.