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18 minors acquitted of charges relating to public assembly

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The minors are among 33 arrested while discussing preparations for the revolution’s third anniversary

The Abbaseya Juvenile Court acquitted on Monday 18 minors arrested on 15 January on charges relating to public assembly.

The acquitted minors are part of a group of 33 detainees arrested from a public park in downtown Cairo during the second day of the constitutional referendum. Ahmed Al-Damshiti, lawyer for Al-Haqanya Rights Centre representing the detainees, said the 33 were holding a meeting at the park to discuss preparations for the third anniversary of the 2011 revolution. They are members of the Ultras Revolutionary group.

The 33 detainees are accused of violating the newly passed Protest Law, the 1914 assembly law and the Penal Code on charges relating to illegal assembly, “thuggery”, “breaching public security and endangering the lives or interests of citizens”. Al-Damshiti said that some of the detainees were randomly arrested, denying that any of them were practicing any form of “rioting” at the time of their arrest.

“There aren’t any victims of thuggery in this case,” Al-Damshiti said, adding that the detainees cannot be accused of “thuggery” if there are no victims.

The 15 remaining adult detainees remain in custody, and their trial is expected to resume on 22 February. Al-Damshiti said that although they face the same charges the acquitted minors previously faced, he is wary of the verdict they might be served.

“We are worried the verdict might be related to the current situation in the country,” Al-Damshiti said.

On Sunday, an Alexandria court upheld a January verdict of two years in prison and an EGP 50,000 fine for four Alexandria detainees in the famous case that involves nine Alexandrians, including prominent activist and lawyer Mahienour El-Massry.

The remaining five, including El-Massry and political activist Hassan Mustafa, were tried in absentia.  All nine were sentenced on 2 January for violating the highly controversial Protest Law.

The Ultras Revolutionary detainees are also charged with violating the Protest Law. The Alexandrian verdict is therefore a cause for concern regarding the upcoming verdict for the 15 detainees, Al-Damshiti said.


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