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Egyptian activists sentenced to jail for supporting Black Bloc members

Protesters claiming to be members of the 'Black Bloc' prepare to clash with demonstrators loyal to the Muslim Brotherhood in an area near Tahrir Square on 19 April 2013
Protesters claiming to be members of the 'Black Bloc' prepare to clash with demonstrators loyal to the Muslim Brotherhood in an area near Tahrir Square on 19 April 2013

REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) denounces the harsh sentence of five years and six months' imprisonment handed down to six activists who were demonstrating in a pledge of solidarity with members of the 'Black Bloc' during their trial in the New Cairo court. They were also offered bail of 30,000 EGP ($US 4316) to suspend the implementation of the sentence.

Each of the six activists, Amro AbdulThaher, Amro Emad Eldin, Mohammed Ahmed, Mohammed Farahat, Mustafa alSayed, and Abdullah Ahmed, were arrested by security forces in front of the Tagamou Khamis Court during their participation in the demonstrations. The protests came as a reaction to the Supreme State Prosecution's decision to renew the 'Black Bloc' members' 15 days in prison pending investigations.

The six activists were arrested on 30 April 2013, they were then subjected to investigations for two days after which the public prosecution referred their case for urgent consideration at a trial on 2 May. In a single hearing, their five-year-six-month sentences were issued on charges of assaulting security officers, destroying public properties, and rioting.

The activists' lawyers appealed the harsh sentences and the first hearing will be reviewed on 13 May before the New Cairo Misdemeanor Court.

"While the trials of those accused of corruption, murder, and theft of public money may take years till sentences are issued, the New Cairo Misdemeanor Court issued, in a single hearing, a harsh sentence against six university students," said ANHRI, "raising suspicions over court procedures and making clear the harmful intentions of government bodies towards young people who protest against the policies of authorities and the unjust trials of members of the opposition in Egypt."

ANHRI added, “the court must seriously review the sentences issued and must acquit the defendants as peacefully demonstrating is a right that must be ensured by the state."

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