The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) announced Monday the acquittal in Alexandria of seven detainees and the release of three others on EGP 1,000 bail in cases regarding political demonstrations earlier this year.
Seven defendants were found innocent on Saturday, after being detained pre-trial for 56 days for illegal protesting and assembly on 3 July, said Hamdy Khalaf, EIPR lawyer for the case.
The remaining three protesters were released on EGP 1,000 bail, Sunday, after being held in detention for over three months for illegal protesting and assembly, Khalaf added.
EIPR noted that 23 young men and women including Yara Sallam, a transitional justice expert at EIPR, have also been detained for the past 11 weeks. They were arrested from the vicinity of a political march in Cairo in late June.
Tarek Abdel Aal, a lawyer working on Sallam’s case, pointed out that she was not protesting at the time of her arrest, but was simply “just close” to where the protests were taking place. She is accused of protesting without authorisation and illegal assembling and will be tried on 13 September.
The EIPR statement said that, according to conservative reports, at least 22,000 political prisoners are currently detained across Egypt.
“Long pre-trial detention periods have become a punishment rather than a precautionary measure to ensure defendants stand trial,” said EIPR.
EIPR calls for a reconsideration of “the use and application of pre-trial detention”. It called for the abolishment of the Protest Law as well as infringes the citizens right to assembly.