By Tamim Elyan
CAIRO: Rod Al Farag Misdemeanors Court adjourned the trial of eight protesters arrested in Shubra last week to Jan. 20 to continue hearing the defense team.
“The court heard the defense of five protesters and will continue hearing the rest next Thursday,” Ahmed Seif Al-Islam, head of the defense team, told Daily News Egypt.
The eight Muslim protesters, affiliated with opposition movements, were initially detained during a Jan. 3 protest in Shubra that condemned the New Year’s bombing in front of the Church of the Two Saints in Alexandria.
The defendants are accused of a long list of charges including: participating in a gathering of more than five people, inciting sectarianism, vandalism of public property, injuring 15 security force officers and four policemen, and vandalizing nine private vehicles, 11 vans, two microbuses, and two police pick-up trucks.
“We were transferred to Rod Al Farag police Station and then spent three days at the prosecution office, where we were beaten, insulted and treated very badly,” Mostafa Shawky, one of the eight protesters, told Daily News Egypt.
“Some of us are accused of charges that can put them in jail for 15 years,” he said.
According to Shawky, they were around 150 protesters between the church, which refused to let the Coptic protesters inside, and the security cordon.
As another protest marched across the street, security tried to control both protests using violence, he added.
The police then decided to release protesters but asked the priest of the church to identify outsiders, leaving activists inside the cordon. The eight defendants were then arrested.
“At the police station, we found out that three people had criminal records. We were all referred to the misdemeanors court for an emergency trial,” Shawky said.
Protests by angry Copts joined by opposition powers swept the country the week following the attack on the Alexandria church that left 23 dead and 90 injured.