April 6’s Maher to stand trial for protest law offenses
Ahmed Maher, Mohamed Adel and Ahmed Douma
 

The public prosecutor has referred three leading political activists to stand trial on charges relating to the controversial protest law.

Reuters reported Thursday that Ahmed Maher, founder of the April 6 Youth Movement, will be the first person to stand in court on charges under the protest law, approved by interim President Adly Mansour in late November. The law has been criticized for making political demonstrations held without prior approval from the state illegal.

Maher, fellow April 6 founder Mohamed Adel and activist Ahmed Douma all face charges of illegal assembly, assaulting police officers and vandalizing public property. The offenses are alleged to have occurred during a protest in front of Abdeen Court Saturday.

The prosecutor’s decision comes amid a wave of arrests against anti-regime activists, targeted as part of the enforcement of the contentious protest law.

The Abdeen Court demonstration was organized by a group of activists in solidarity with 24 defendants arrested during an earlier demonstration held in front of the Shura Council. That protest demanded an end to the use of military trials for civilians and the overturning of the protest law.

The Shura Council protest was violently dispersed by police forces in what was the first implementation of the protest law.

Twenty-three of those arrested have been released on bail of LE5,000. One man remains in detention, Ahmed Abdel Rahman.

Well-known activist Alaa Abd El-Fattah also faces charges of organizing the protest without receiving permission. Abd El-Fattah’s detention has been extended by a further 15 days, pending investigation.

Abd El Fattah was arrested late Thursday night after armed police raided his home and assaulted both him and his wife, Manal Bahey El Din Hassan. Prior to his arrest, Abd El Fattah had formally notified the authorities of his intention to turn himself in to the public prosecution office.

Meanwhile, the Thuwwar Front said Monday that the public prosecutor has issued warrants for the arrest of several of its founding members: revolutionary socialist Haytham Mohamadeen, April 6 members Sherif al-Rouby and Zizo Abdou, singer Ramy Essam and activist Sayed Sobhy.

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