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Sentencing of female protesters widely decried

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Politicians and groups call for presidential pardon for female protesters sentenced to 11 years in jail

14 female demonstrators, six of the minors, were sentenced to 11 years in prison (Photo by Mohamed Omar/DNE)

14 female demonstrators, six of the minors, were sentenced to 11 years in prison (Photo by Mohamed Omar/DNE)

The sentencing of 14 female demonstrators, six of the minors, to 11 years in prison was met with condemnation from a number of political figures and parties.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party(FJP) blamed the “putschists” of “deterring the honest and the honourable from continuing their rightful protests and their determined march to reverse the coup and achieve the objectives of the January 25 Revolution.”

FJP’s statement, which was issued shortly after Wednesday’s verdict, said that the sentencing would “only fan the flames of the revolution, and will never stop rebels from continuing their non-violent struggle until they achieve their demands.”

The FJP also called on protesters in Alexandria to assemble on the city’s cornishe on Thursday.

Former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahy called on interim President Adly Mansour to issue a pardon for the convicted female protesters, according to his official Twitter account, while former MP Mostafa Al-Naggar called the ruling “the suicide of justice in Egypt.”

Spokesman of the Salafi Al-Nour Party also called for a presidential pardon for the convicted protesters, part of a group that calls itself “7 AM.” Taha said such a pardon along with “the withdrawal of the protest law, … a comprehensive review of all files of all detainees, and urgent measures to ease the tension in the hearts of the youth” needed to be carried out by the interim government before tensions continued to escalate.

In a Wednesday statement the Islamist Al-Watan Party called the court ruling “unprecedented in the history of the Egyptian judiciary” and called on all “free proud souls” to “stand united against tyranny.”

Al-Tayyar Al-Masry Party said that a “state of justice, one of the demands of the 25 January Revolution,” could only be achieved through fair, impartial and non-politicised trials, adding that their political differences with the sentenced would not deter the party from expressing solidarity with them.

“The right to peaceful protest is guaranteed for all whatever their political affiliation,” said the Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) in a statement denouncing the court ruling.

“The continuation of the Egyptian judiciary in issuing these kinds of politicised rulings on activists because of political affiliations raises many doubts about the future of justice in Egypt,” added ANHRI, which also called on Mansour to issue a presidential pardon for the convicted.

Fourteen of the defendants on Sunday were found guilty of acts of violence, encroachment on public and private property, and possession of melee weapons in the case’s second hearing. They had been arrested on 31 October during a demonstration in support of ousted president Mohamed Morsi and were part of a group called 7 AM because of their demonstrations before the beginning of the school day.

Following the ruling the group released a statement condemning the ruling “on the strongest terms” and warned that such a verdict would be met with more anger and protesting from youth in Alexandria.


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