Twenty-one women were sentenced on Wednesday after being arrested in late October for protesting against the 3 July military-backed ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi.
Fourteen of the defendants were sentenced to 11 years and one month in jail on charges of acts of violence, encroachment on public and private property, and possession of melee weapons. The remaining seven were minors and were sentenced to juvenile detention until coming of age to serve in a penitentiary with adults.
The “instigators” of the protest, six men, were sentenced to 15 years in jail.
The girls were arrested on 31 October during a demonstration and the Alexandria prosecution renewed their detention for 15 days on 12 November.
The girls are part of a group called 7 am, which is aimed at protesting in the early morning before school starts. The girls were protesting at Syria Street in the Roshdi area of Alexandria before local police arrested them.
During the previous trial the girls were not present in court however Wednesday they arrived to the trial and were all kept in the same cage.
On 18 November the prosecution announced that they would refer the women to trial, charging them with joining a group established in violation of the law, promoting the ideas of the group, and possessing and distributing publications that incite violence and vandalism.
Hamdy Khalaf, an attorney representing the defendants, said that the “defense submitted a request [to demonstrate] the unconstitutionality of the articles for which they are being tried.”
Khalaf said that “two of the arrested were a mother and her daughter, who were crossing the street at the time… we will plea against the procedures of arrest as well as requesting the annulment of the rioting article in criminal law.”
“I cannot tell what will happen with this trial,” he added. “It’s such a volatile case and so affected by public opinion that it will take quite a long time for the judges to reach a verdict… the girls were in very high spirits because they know they are innocent.”
The 7 am Movement “condemned in the strongest terms” Wednesday’s ruling in a statement following the hearing, accusing the state of violating the freedom of expression and right to a fair trial.
“Soon you will see a volcano of anger from the Alexandria youth and we will harshly respond to what happened today,” read the group’s statement.