Qasr El-Nile Misdemeanor Court acquitted members of the Socialist Popular Alliance Party (SPAP) and colleagues of deceased activist Shaimaa Al-Sabbagh from protest charges Saturday at the trial session held at Abdeen Court.
According to a copy of the verdict published by state-run media Al-Ahram, the court stated that evidence revealed that the defendants marched holding flowers in commemoration of the martyrs of revolution, which is neither considered an assembly for political purposes, nor a protest.
The court added that the members spoke to the police officers in sight trying to get permission to put the flowers in Tahrir Square in commemoration of those who died during the 2011 revolution but their request was rejected, followed by a violent dispersal from security forces using tear gas and birdshots.
“It was just a celebration like other national celebrations or weddings,” Al-Ahram reported, adding that the court found no strong legal grounds for protest charges.
Therefore, the 17 defendants in the case have been acquitted from the charges of protesting without prior notification to the Ministry of Interior, and from assaulting police officers.
However, the court stated that this does not mean that any public assembly that exceeds ten people does not fall under illegal protests, even if peaceful.
The 17 defendants included non-party members, non-participants in the march, as eyewitnesses to the incidents were turned into suspects in the case. Al-Sabbagh’s murder case is currently in trial, as a Central Security Officer (CSF) is facing manslaughter charges.