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Kefaya activists sentenced to three years in prison

(ANHRI/IFEX) - Cairo, 2 April 2012 - ANHRI condemns a verdict by the Al Azbakeya Misdemeanors Court, sentencing Kefaya activists Tarek Medhat Ibrahim al Sunni and Mahmood Morshedi to 3 years' imprisonment. They were both detained on 28 February 2012 after expressing support for a group of former judges at a sit-in in front of the High Court. The sit-in had called for the independence and purging of the judiciary and condemned the incidents connected with the so-called "foreign funding" case.

The activists were chanting slogans against the Egyptian Public Prosecutor when the security forces detained them. The general prosecution subsequently accused them of occupying the High Court building, insulting public officers and misusing their power against officials, lawyers and citizens, in addition to possessing knives.

The prosecutor referred the activists to the Al Azbakeya Misdemeanor Court, under case number 1848 of 2012. The court first heard the case on 18 March 2012. The matter was then postponed to 25 March and finally the court made its decision on 2 April.

ANHRI is extremely annoyed by the suspected complicity of the Public Prosecution, which was apparently biased against the defendants because they had chanted slogans critical of the General Prosecutor. Only a 40-minute defense was provided while the prosecution called for a sentence of capital punishment against the activists, in a rare move for a misdemeanor case.

ANHRI said: "After a series of acquittals in cases whereby police officers have been accused of killing demonstrators, in less than a week the Egyptian Courts have issued two judgments of rigorous imprisonment against activists in cases related to demonstrations. Beside this harsh prison sentence against the Kefaya activists for calling for an independent judiciary, last Thursday the Misdemeanors Court of Rod El Farag sentenced eight activists to prison. That was a case fabricated by the security services during the reign of Habib Al Adli, before the outbreak of the Egyptian revolution. The legal action stemmed from a demonstration which denounced a terrorist bombing against the Church of the Saints in Alexandria. This is a sharp decline of the right to freely hold peaceful demonstrations, after the success of the 25 January revolution."

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