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Four students arrested while decrying Rabaa’s dispersal acquitted

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Students were accused of unlawful assembly, and “terrorising citizens”

A fire rages in a protest tent as security forces move to disperse Morsi supporters by force in Cairo, August 14, 2013  (AFP/File, Mohammed Abdel Moneim)

A fire rages in a protest tent as security forces move to disperse Morsi supporters by force in Cairo, August 14, 2013
(AFP/File, Mohammed Abdel Moneim)

The Sidi Gaber Misdemeanour Court acquitted on Saturday four Alexandria University students arrested in August while performing a freeze flash mob on the dispersal of the pro-Mohamed Morsi sit-ins inside a mall in Alexandria.

The students were accused of violating the “old protest law”, displaying force, assembly, terrorising citizens and using force and violence, according to lawyer Ahmed Al-Ghamry. Al-Ghamry is a member of the Association to Defend Alexandrian Detainees, a group established after Morsi’s ouster on 3 July to defend detainees arrested for protesting against the “coup”.

The students’ defence team said during Saturday’s session that at the time of their arrest, the students were only in possession of two cameras, posters carrying the “Rabaa sign”, and drums. The defence team denied the existence of any evidence incriminating the detainees. They also pointed out that the students were arrested by security personnel belonging to the mall where the flash mob was held; they were not authorised to arrest them, Al-Ghamry said.

The four students were acquitted in absentia as the Alexandria Security Directorate did not bring them to court to attend the trial session, citing security concerns. The judge who ruled on the case, Mohamed Ali Balbaa, fined Alexandria’s Security Director for failing to transport the detainees to court.

A group of students organised a flash mob at the Green Plaza Mall on 27 August decrying the forcible dispersal of the Rabaa Al-Adaweya and Al-Nahda sit-ins on 14 August, which left around 650 civilians dead, according to official counts. Al-Ghamry said the students were attacked by the mall’s security, which arrested the four students and handed them over to the Ministry of Interior. Their preventive detention has been continuously renewed since then.

Authorities have led a crackdown on the Islamists after Morsi’s ouster on 3 July and most Brotherhood leaders have been detained, many facing trials.


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