One hundred and fifty-two protesters were handed sentences of two to five years in prison on Saturday for participating in protests on April 25 against the transfer of sovereign control of the Red Sea Islands Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi Arabia, according to the Front to Defend Egyptian Protesters.
Many protesters, activists and journalists were arrested on April 25 during demonstrations that were called to protest the island transfer, but that also raised other political issues, such as the detention of a number of people in police raids and roundups the previous week.
Some of those who were arrested were released the same day, but 175 faced trial in two separate courts, including 23 minors who were referred to juvenile courts.
The Qasr al-Nil Misdemeanor Court sentenced 51 people, including 18 in absentia that had been released previously, to two years in prison according to the Front to Defend Egyptian Protesters.
Another court sentenced 101 people, including 54 in absentia that were arrested in the Dokki and Agouza areas, to five years in prison and a LE100,000 fine.
Protesters were charged with inciting violence to overthrow the government, inciting attacks on police stations, joining a terrorist organization and preventing the president from carrying out his duties according to the constitution, the state-owned Al-Ahram newspaper reported.
April 25 saw demonstrations in Giza and Cairo that were dispersed by police, who used teargas and chased protesters through side streets. Security forces cordoned off meeting points announced by protesters in the lead up to April 25, which coincided with the 34th anniversary of Sinai’s liberation.
In anticipation of the protests, police also conducted a series of impromptu raids, arresting dozens from cafes, private residencies and streets across Egypt’s governorates.
The agreement between Saudi Arabia and Egypt over the islands earlier this month sparked widespread criticism, leading to nationwide protests on April 15, the largest demonstrations to take place in Egypt in two and a half years.