The Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) denounced on Sunday harsh prison sentences issued to six protesters.
The detainees were arrested by court security on 30 April while holding a demonstration outside the court to show solidarity with eight people arrested and accused of involvement in the Black Bloc group.
On 2 May, their case was referred to an urgent court hearing and the sentence was issued in a single hearing. They were sentenced for damaging the criminal court building, as well as a police truck and booth, insulting policemen, and causing unrest.
The detainees are Amr Abdel Zaher, Amr Emad El-Din, Mustafa Al-Sayed, Mohamed Ahmed, Mohamed Farahat, and Abdallah Ahmed.
A EGP 30,000 bail was set by court for each detainee. Sayeda Qandil, a lawyer for the Front to Defend Egypt’s Protesters, said on Saturday that the bail amount was “an arbitrary step to keep the detainees imprisoned till the appeal hearing on 13 May”. Qandil added that detainees should not receive three separate sentences for their activities, but should receive one single sentence for all the related accusations.
“While the trials of defendants accused of corruption, spilling blood of Egyptians and stealing public money take years for a verdict to come out, the court issued in one hearing this harsh sentence against six college students, raising suspicions over court procedures and showing the prior intentions of state institutions,” AHRI said. ANHRI added that the government should guarantee the right to protest and not punish those expressing their legitimate right to freedom of expression.
A seventh person was also arrested. According to the My Country My Rights campaign, 14 year old Ahmed Mohsen, the brother of Abdel-Rahman “Mano” Mohsen, was arrested but was released to his parents and referred to a children’s court. Mano is one of the detainees Tuesday’s demonstration was held for.
The six detainees’ defence team appealed the court decision and the appeal is set to begin on 13 May.
A small gathering was held for the six detainees earlier this week.
A press conference is scheduled to be held on Tuesday by the Freedoms Committee of the Lawyers’ Syndicate to bring attention to arrests of alleged Black Bloc members and those who showed solidarity with them.