Egypt: 25 activists sentenced as al-Sisi tightens grip on human rights

The sentencing today by the Cairo Criminal Court of leading activist and blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah and 24 others to 15 years in prison on politically motivated charges is an outrageous travesty of justice, said Amnesty International.

“Protesting peacefully is not a crime. If held solely for taking part in a protest, the activists must be released immediately and unconditionally,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director at Amnesty International.

“It’s deeply troubling that, just days into Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s presidency, courts are already jailing government critics. By locking up one of the leading activists in Egypt, the authorities are sending a clear message that they will not tolerate anyone daring to challenge or criticise them.”

The activists were tried in relation to a peaceful protest which took place outside the Shura Council last November by the “No To Military Trial” group.

The group was protesting against the inclusion of a provision allowing the trial of civilians before military courts by the Drafting Committee of the Constitution.

The activists were sentenced on charges of stealing a police radio, attacking security forces, protesting without permission and hindering the work of national institutions.