The sentenced Alexandrian labour activist Mahienour El-Massry once said from her prison cell that “sacrifice is nothing compared to the suffering of the poor”.
The lawyer and member of the Revolutionary Socialists Movement was sentenced, Sunday, to one year and three months imprisonment for breaking into El-Raml police station in Alexandria in March 2013.
The court rejected the request for the families of the detained to enter the courtroom, and banned photojournalists from attending the session with their cameras.
Upon issuing the ruling, El-Massry chanted “down with the military rule”.
The March incident occurred when pro-Muslim Brotherhood members assaulted some activists and drove them to the police station. Lawyers, including El-Massry, who went for assistance, were prevented from entering the station and were assaulted by police personnel inside.
El-Massry, journalist Youssef Sha’aban, and 11 other activists and lawyers have been charged with 10 accusations, including damaging the police station, insulting the station’s personnel, attempting to help prisoners escape and spreading terror amongst citizens.
The case had prompted then-head of the Lawyers’ Syndicate Sameh Ashour, to call on the removal and prosecution of the interior minister, the Alexandria security director, the head of detectives and the deputy police chief.
“We need to focus on the oppressed. We should not turn into a group calling for the freedom for a certain person,” El-Massry wrote in a letter from prison one year ago.
In November, El-Massry was arrested along with lawyer Mohamed Ramadan and two others over the allegation that they were protesting. They were detained in El-Raml police station in Alexandria, but were released a few hours later.
In another case against her, El-Massry had previously been released from prison in September, after an Alexandria Court accepted her appeal against a six-month prison sentence.
El-Massry, alongside eight others, had initially been sentenced to two years in prison and fined EGP 50,000 for violating the Protest Law. This came after their arrest while participating in a protest in solidarity with torture victim Khaled Said in December 2013.
Following her release, the lawyer had started a hunger strike in solidarity with all those detained over the controversial 2013 Protest Law.
El-Massry will now have to return to the prison’s “miniature society”, as she described it in a letter, where “the rich have facilities, unlike the poor”.