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.

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    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

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