Dozens of protesters demonstrated in front of the High Court building on Saturday against the arrest of seven youth near the Fifth Settlement Court. The detained youth were sentenced to five years in jail on charges of “destroying the criminal court building, a police truck and booth, and insulting policemen”.
The detainees were arrested last Tuesday during their participation in a demonstration in solidarity with eight others who are in custody for alleged involvement in the Black Bloc group, among other charges.
The 6 April Democratic Front has announced that there will be numerous demonstrations in different governorates against detainment of movement member Abdel Rahman “Manno” Mohsen as well as other detainees.
6 April Spokesperson Mostafa Al-Hagary said several demonstrations would be held in front of district attorney and prosecutor offices across the country.
“In Tanta, there will be a surprise event that we will not announce its details,” Al-Hagary added.
Commerce student at Cairo University Samer Sayed, who organised a stand in front of the High Court building, said his friend Omar Emad, one of the detainees, was reporting on the demonstrations in front of the court when clashes happened and he was arrested. “Two of the detainees were students just passing nearby and did not participate in the clashes,” Sayed added.
Lawyer for the Front to Defend Egypt’s Protesters Sayeda Qandil said the EGP 30,000 bail issued by the court is “an arbitrary step to keep the detainees imprisoned till the appeal hearing on 13 May.” Qandil added that related crimes should apply only the biggest sentence but not three separate judgements.
Meanwhile Amnesty International released a report condemning the “crackdown on freedom of speech and dissent that continues unabated in post-Mubarak Egypt”.
Amnesty noted the increase in judicial harassment of opposition activists, bloggers, comedians, protesters, and others in recent months with charges of insulting President Mohamed Morsi or other officials, as well as “defaming” religion. It condemned detaining activists Ahmed Douma and Hassan Mustafa and blogger Ahmed Anwar.
The human rights organisation condemned the detainment of journalist and activist Ahmed Douma, who is being held at Damanhur Prison over accusations of “insulting the president and spreading false news”, without being given the chance to inform his lawyers and wife.
“This violates Egypt’s laws, not to mention international standards,” the report stated.
Ahmed Anwar is also facing trial on Saturday on charges of “insulting the Ministry of Interior”, after posting a comical video online poking fun at the police.
Violations of arresting young men from home by a group of men wearing civilian clothes were documented in the report. The men arrested were accused of belonging to the Black Bloc group.
Meanwhile, the Egyptian Democratic Party issued a statement condemning the “kidnapping of activist Ahmed Douma”. In a press release, the secretariat of the Rights and Freedoms Committee for the party condemned the recent tactics of the regime against political and rights activists, including Hamada Al-Masry, Hassan Mustafa and others who are still in detention without proper investigations.
The Egyptian Democratic Party also warned in the press release that the politicisation of the judiciary would lead to chaos.