The Alexandria Court Complex refused an appeal for the second time to release imprisoned political activists Mahienour El-Massry, Youssef Shaaban, and Loay Al-Kahwagi on charges of breaking into Al-Raml police station in Alexandria.
The case dates back to mid-2013, during the presidency of Mohamed Morsi. A group of lawyers started a sit-in in front of El-Raml police station in Alexandria, demanding an official apology from the Ministry of Interior regarding the injury of their fellow lawyer at the hands of police personnel. The lawyers were then arrested and accused of attempting to break into the police station.
In 2014, the court sentenced El-Massry, Shaaban, and Al-Kahwagi to two years in prison. In May, after the appeal, the court reduced the sentence to one year and three months. El-Massry and Shaaban were released on bail pending the appeal decision but Al-Kahwagi remained in prison.
“This case is another move from the regime to shut up any dissident voices,” the Freedom for Mahienour campaign wrote on Facebook. “We have a long way to go and keep saying no even if hundreds others were imprisoned.”
Shaaban is suffering from a Virus C infection and has no access to medical treatment, according to his wife, Ranwa Youssef. He previously worked as a journalist for Al-Bedaiah news website. Al-Kahwagi was a member of the Revolutionary Socialist group.
International Watchdog Amnesty International issued an appeal addressing Egyptian authorities to release the aforementioned defendants in late November.
The decision to arrest the activists sparked sympathetic responses from many local rights groups.
“The verdict shows that there is an inclination from the Egyptian authorities to make up a number of lawsuits against human rights defenders,” ten organisations said in an official statement in June