Egypt to release 130 students, sentences for activists reduced

The release order includes some student supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi, who have been recently arrested from pro-Morsi university protests. 23 young activists' jail terms convicted of violating a law banning protests without a permit reduced

Egypt to release 130 students, sentences for activists reduced

World Bulletin/News Desk

Egypt's prosecutor-general ordered Sunday the release of 130 students, including minors, who have been arrested on violence-related charges.

The prosecutor-general's office said in a statement that the students' release was meant "to maintain their future and allow them to pursue their education."

A judicial source told The Anadolu Agency that the release order includes some student supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi, who have been recently arrested from pro-Morsi university protests.

The order also includes members of other protest movements, the source asserted.

In September, Egyptian authorities released scores of detained students ahead of the beginning of the 2014/15 academic year at Egyptian universities, which began in October.

Since Morsi's military ouster last year, thousands of members and supporters of his Muslim Brotherhood group – along with a number of secular activists – have been arrested and convicted on multiple charges.

Throughout the previous academic year, which began two months after Morsi's ouster and imprisonment, many Egyptian universities became epicenters of protest against what critics decried as a "military coup."

In many cases, pro-Morsi student demonstrations turned into deadly confrontations with security forces.

Over the course of the last year, numerous students have been thrown in jail for participating in demonstrations, while university administrations have expelled many others or barred them from sitting for final exams.

Jail sentences for activists reduced 

An Egyptian appeal court has also reduced to two years a jail sentence against 23 activists who have been convicted two months ago of protesting without permit.

The 23 activists were sentenced on October 26 to three years each on charges of participating in an illegal demonstration.

Among the defendants is Sanaa Abdel-Fattah, the younger sister of prominent activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah. Defendants also include rights lawyer Yara Sallam, who worked as a transitional justice researcher in local Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights NGO.

The activists had been convicted of organizing an "unauthorized" protest outside Cairo's Ittihadeya presidential palace in July.

Alaa Abdel-Fattah, one of the figureheads of Egypt's 2011 uprising that ousted autocrat President Hosni Mubarak, is himself being tried on charges of organizing another illegal demonstration last year.

Egypt's protest law has come under fire since it came out in November. The legislation, issued by former military-backed interim president Adly Mansour, stipulates that protest organizers submit a written notification to the Interior Ministry three days before staging a demonstration.

The law gives the Interior Ministry the right to deny organizers permission if the planned demonstration is deemed a "threat to security or public safety" or if security conditions are found to be "inappropriate."

The law also authorizes security forces to use force to disperse demonstrators.

According to the law, violators can either be fined or imprisoned – penalties that have provoked the ire of many Egyptian politicians and activists, who say the legislation curbs freedoms and gives police free rein to bar popular protest.

A recent report by the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights, a local NGO, found over 41,000 cases of Egyptians who had been subject to prosecution since last year's ouster of elected president Mohamed Morsi by the army.

Egyptian authorities continue to deny that any political detainees are being prosecuted, insisting that all those currently held face criminal charges.

Morsi himself currently faces four separate trials in which he faces multiple criminal charges, including espionage, jailbreak and "offending the judiciary."

Former army chief Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, widely seen as the architect of Morsi's ouster, was elected president during a May poll.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 28 Aralık 2014, 16:26

Muhammed Öylek