Prominent activist Alaa Abdel Fattah and 24 others who were sentenced to 15 years in jail earlier in June will begin the appeal process on 22 July, according to state-owned Al-Ahram.
All 25 defendants were sentenced in absentia and received a EGP 100,000 fine along with the jail time, after having been found guilty of violating the controversial Protest Law. The defendants are being charged for demonstrating against military trials for civilians outside the Shura Council building last November, two days after the announcement of the revised law.
Three of the 25 sentenced in absentia, including Abdel Fattah, were detained outside the courtroom as part of the sentence. Three days after the sentencing, the other defendants presented themselves at the prosecutor general’s office to begin the procedures necessary for a retrial, saying that they believe the sentencing to be revenge for the 25 January revolution.
The sentencing was condemned both domestically and internationally with groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch condemning the sentence. Hugh Robertson, UK foreign office minister of state for Middle East policy, called on the Egyptian government to review the Protest Law and ensure the rights for freedom of expression and association are preserved.
A lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the law was postponed until later this year.
The Protest Law was issued by former president Adly Mansour on 24 November 2013 to regulate the right to peaceful assembly. Domestic and international human rights organisations, as well as several political movements have widely criticised the law since then.
Abdel Fattah was prosecuted under former president Mohamed Morsi, for allegedly inciting violence against Muslim Brotherhood members and former president Hosni Mubarak. He was also detained for two months in 2011 under the rule of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), for allegedly assaulting soldiers during the Maspero demonstration in November.