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Female sit-in held outside presidential palace against the Protest Law

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Female protesters decry prison verdicts maintained to prominent activists

Egyptian political activist Ahmed Douma reacts as he stands behind dock bars during his trial in Cairo on June 3, 2013, on charges of insulting president Mohamed Morsi.    (AFP FILE PHOTO / KHALED DESOUKI)

Egyptian political activist Ahmed Douma reacts as he stands behind dock bars during his trial in Cairo on June 3, 2013, on charges of insulting president Mohamed Morsi.
(AFP FILE PHOTO / KHALED DESOUKI)

Nourhan Hefzy, wife of imprisoned blogger and political activist Ahmed Douma,
started on Tuesday a sit-in alongside other female activists outside the presidential
palace in Heliopolis decrying the Protest Law.

Douma was sentenced on 22 December to three years’ hard labour and fined EGP
50,000 alongside Ahmed Maher, co-founder of the 6 April Youth Movement and
Mohamed Adel, a co-founder and member of 6 April’s political bureau. The trio was
convicted of protesting without the Ministry of Interior’s approval under the
controversial Protest Law, rioting, “thuggery”, using violence against Abdeen
Courthouse security personnel, and possessing melee weapons.

Abdeen Misdemeanor Court upheld the conviction on 7 April after a four-month
long appeal process.

At least eight women spent the night at the sit-in on Tuesday, Hefzy said on her
Facebook account, calling for the cancellation of the Protest Law and the release of
all those detained under the law. The female only sit-in is scheduled to continue
until next Saturday, coinciding with a planned march to the Presidential Palace
against the Protest Law.

Hefzy also led a sit-in outside the presidential palace on 7 April, right after the
verdict against her husband was upheld.

The verdict has garnered wide criticism from domestic as well as international
bodies.

The United States Department of State said it is “deeply troubled” over the court’s
decision to uphold the trio’s prison sentences.

The United Kingdom’s Minister of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Hugh Robertson also expressed hconcern.

Egypt’s foreign ministry rejected the condemnation of the verdict, saying,“It is not
for the United States or others to accept, reject or comment on a court ruling in
Egypt.”


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