News / Middle East

Egyptian Activist, Barred from Court, Gets 15-Year Sentence

Egyptian pro-democracy activist Alla Abdel-Fattah was barred from the court session where he was sentenced to 15 years in prison for protesting a restrictive protest law, Cairo, June 11, 2014. (Hamada Elrasam/VOA)
Egyptian pro-democracy activist Alla Abdel-Fattah was barred from the court session where he was sentenced to 15 years in prison for protesting a restrictive protest law, Cairo, June 11, 2014. (Hamada Elrasam/VOA)
Elizabeth Arrott
An Egyptian court sentenced prominent activist Alla Abdel-Fattah and 24 others to 15 years in prison Wednesday, in a continuing government crackdown on dissent.
 
Abdel-Fattah and his colleagues were convicted of protesting a restrictive protest law passed last November - legislation human rights group have called repressive.  They were also charged with attacking a police officer and disturbing the peace.
 
The activist was tried in absentia after security forces barred him and two other defendants from attending the trial.  The three were arrested outside the court after the sentence was handed down.
 
Abdel-Fattah rose to prominence during the 2011 uprising that toppled long-time president Hosni Mubarak.  He has since been active in trying to bring an end to military trials of civilians and other civilian rights causes.
 
Wednesday’s sentences are the first against pro-democracy activists since the inauguration of President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi Sunday.
 
Since his role in deposing Egypt’s first democratically elected president, Islamist Mohamed Morsi last year, el-Sissi has been seen as the driving force behind a crackdown on dissent.  The main target has been Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood.  Egyptian courts have stunned human rights groups and others with mass death sentences given to hundreds of Brotherhood members.
 
In recent months, the crackdown has widened, with other government opponents increasingly the target of judicial action.
 
The anti-protest law Abdel-Fattah was convicted of violating requires advance police permission to hold rallies.
 
Demonstrations have been a key force in Egyptian politics since the 2011 revolution and used effectively by Sissi to justify his actions over the past year.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Troops Depart

Afghans are grappling with how exodus will affect country's fragile economy More

Video Scientists Say We Need Softer Robots

Today’s robots are mostly hard, rigid machines, with sharp edges and forceful movements, but researchers at Carnegie Mellon University say they should be softer and therefore safer More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Mohamed Mohsen from: egypt
June 11, 2014 4:29 PM
this sentence is not a real sentence, its a formality till they find the suspect and then A Retrial will be once caught or suspect gives up himself. As it is a defenceless case... is just a formality. please don't pick on us Egyptian.

by: Jarlsbane from: USA
June 11, 2014 10:43 AM
It would seem the US Gov. only supports democracy, when they agree with the outcome of the vote. Egypt being far from the 1st example. The Muslim Brotherhood came to power in a free & fair democratic election. It was removed, with US & Israeli backing, by a carefully orchestrated military coup. The vote that legitimized al Sisi was hardly free, fair, or democratic.
In Response

by: Hamza Hashem
June 11, 2014 11:32 AM
Do not forget the assistance of all of the Gulf states as well - they refused all aid to Egypt then the day he was removed they announced 2 billion in aid immediately.

by: Sensi
June 11, 2014 9:25 AM
Somehow that won't prevent the USA to sell helicopters to the renewed Egyptian military junta dictatorship, nor Israel sorry officials to congratulate the new dictator... That's another blatant example of our Western so-called "liberal democracies" nauseous hypocrisy in foreign policy, see also the Saudi Arabia dictatoship "ally" bankrolling most of the Sunni terrorism worldwide without our Western "free press" and politicians taking issue... Appalling.

by: Ed Miller
June 11, 2014 9:21 AM
Egypt is turning into a police state! Just as bad as many of the Muslim countries but in the opposite direction. The theme in these Islamic countries, as well as Israel, seems to be about holding onto power at all costs. And with all the killing and disregard for human life in that region, one can't really blame them.
In Response

by: Mohamed Mohsen from: egypt
June 11, 2014 4:33 PM
Sir, this case is void once they find suspect or he gives himself up, as the suspect is at large and this is a formality in the civil law system, there will be a real retrial.
thank you vey much

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs