Egypt sentences 78 children to jail for protesting against coup

78 children in Egypt under the age of 16 have been imprisoned for joining Muslim Brotherhood rallies calling for the return of ousted president Mohamed Morsi

Egypt sentences 78 children to jail for protesting against coup

World Bulletin/News Desk

In the northern Egyptian city of Alexandria, a court has sentenced 78 children aged from 13 to 17 for joining Muslim Brotherhood rallies during the past three months to various jail terms ranging from 2 to 5 years.

The childrens' lawyer Ahmed el-Gamri, in a media release to Anadolu Agency, said that they were charged with “membership to Muslim Brotherhood, planning protests and possessing weapons”.

Gamri also aid that the children were held under surveillance from January to May of this year.

“The 78 minors, members of the Muslim Brotherhood, were arrested for participating in protests organised by the group calling for the downfall of the regime, where they blocked roads and transportation, and frightened citizens,” state news agency MENA also reported.

Meanwhile, Egypt is bracing for a tense weekend amid calls for an "Islamic revolution" by supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi and a scheduled court session to announce a verdict against his predecessor Hosni Mubarak.

Army forces began deploying on Thursday at 'vital' locations across the country, according to a statement by the Defense Ministry.

The ministry said military forces will reinforce their presence at the borders to "prevent infiltration by terrorist elements to stage attacks" in Egypt on Friday.

Earlier this month, Egypt's Salafist Front – a subcomponent of Morsi's main support bloc – called for an "Islamic revolution" on November 28 with the aim of ending "military rule" and maintaining "Egypt's [Islamic] identity."

The call for Friday protests has alarmed Egypt's security agencies, which have warned of potential violence by demonstrators.

The authorities have threatened to use live ammunition against anyone who attacks state institutions during the protests.

The country's overwhelmingly pro-army media had been speaking of impending violence as such calls for an "Islamic revolution" had never been made explicitly in Egypt.

The Interior Ministry has already moved to preempt the protests, which it said "aim at spreading chaos to threaten the country's stability."

Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim said that security forces will beef up their measures around police establishments and other government buildings as well as metro and railway stations.

Moreover, police forces said they arrested ten people from the northern Beheira and the southern Assiut provinces for possessing flyers and posters promoting the protests.

A security source told The Anadolu Agency, on condition of anonymity, that police forces arrested 63 people, some of which are Muslim Brotherhood members, from their homes and workplaces within the past two days alone.

Ahmed Mawlana, a key figure in the Salafist Front, was arrested shortly after the group publicized its call for the November 28 protests.

For its part, the National Alliance for the Defense of Legitimacy, Morsi's support bloc, has also separately called for a fresh week of demonstration to protest last year's military ouster of Islamist Morsi - the country's first freely elected president – and the subsequent crackdown on his supporters by the government.

Egyptian authorities and pro-army media accuse Morsi's Brotherhood of standing behind the November 28 protests. The Islamist group, which the government had designated a "terrorist organization" – supported the protests but stopped short of saying whether it would officially take part in them.

On Saturday, An Egyptian court will issue a verdict in the retrial of Mubarak, ex-interior minister Habib al-Adly and six former top security officials on charges of ordering the murder of hundreds of protesters during a 18-day uprising, which ended Mubarak's 30-year rule in early 2011.

In late 2012, Mubarak and al-Adly were both sentenced to 25 years in prison for ordering the murder of demonstrators during the uprising.

The verdict sparked mass protests in parts of the country at the time as protesters viewed the ruling, which acquitted al-Adly six aides for lack of evidence, as insufficient.

The court later ordered a retrial, however, after the former president's lawyers successfully appealed the sentence.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 27 Kasım 2014, 13:36

Muhammed Öylek