The Cairo Court for Urgent Matters ruled to ban the 6 April Youth Movement Monday for “espionage” and “activities that distort Egypt’s image”.
The court also ruled to shut down the headquarters of the movement, which was one of the main groups calling for protests ahead of the 25 January Revolution.
Khaled Al-Masri, media director for 6 April Youth Movement said, however, that 6 April has no headquarters. “We are an idea, not a company. How would they ban people from assembling in coffee shops, clubs and other places?” he said.
The group plans to appeal, he said.
“It is a black era for the Egyptian judiciary,” he said.
Malek Adly, a lawyer at the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights, said the ruling is illegal and unconstitutional, and aims to distort the movement. He also said that the charges are unclear.
Adly said that such a case does not belong in the Cairo Court for Urgent Matters, which was designed to oversee cases that pose an immediate threat.
The 6 April Youth Movement has been functioning for six years. It was founded in 2008 after organising the largest wave of strikes in the history of Egypt in the industrial town of Mahalla.
“Adly Mansour’s system converted the urgent matters court into a national security bureau,” he said. “The judiciary has reached rock bottom.”
On 22 December, Ahmed Maher and Mohamed Adel, co-founders of the movement, were each sentenced to serve three years in prison with hard labour and fined EGP 50,000 for protesting without the Ministry of Interior’s approval, rioting, “thuggery”, using violence against Abdeen Courthouse security personnel and possessing melee weapons.
The movement was officially divided into two fronts in April 2011 because of conflicts over management.