Eight Protestors Trial Postponed as Activists Cry Foul
Eight protestors arrested earlier this week were released by a Misdemeanor Court in Cairo after they were detained in the wake of protests against the church blast in Alexandria on New Year’s Eve.
According to Ahmed Ragheb, director of the Hisham Mubarak Law Center, the decision was a welcome surprise, adding that lawyers had not anticipated the court’s brave decision to release the activists. He asserted that the defence team will be doing everything in its power to acquit the defendants as they face fabricated charges, including inciting sectarianism, beating judiciary arrest officers, vandalism of public property, attacking and injuring 15 security force officers and four policemen, and vandalizing nine private vehicles, 11 vans, two microbuses, and two police pick-up trucks.
He emphasized that in fact the defendants are the real victims of assault and excessive force by security. An appeal has been submitted, calling for the defendants to be examined by forensic doctors.
Anti-government slogans were chanted during the trial demanding the release of the detainees by a group of 20 protestors.
Eye witness, Khaled El-Sayed, a member of Youth for Justice and Freedom Movement noted that the charges were not true. He added that the defendants did not want any trouble with the security forces and that it was the security forces that beat the detainees resulting in their injuries.
During demonstrations outside the court, protestors distributed a statement saying that security forces separated Muslims and Copts during the demonstration allowing only Copts and women to leave and detained the eight Muslim defendants.
The statement cited:
As if security forces want to say that any attempt of unity between Muslims and Copts will be received with jail as long as it is against the government’s shortcomings and its discrimination against the Copts.
Karima El-Hefnawy, from the Kefaya Movement for Change argued that the regime feels threatened when Muslims and Christians unite to demand their rights, as they want the Christians to turn to the church like they used to.
Israa Abdel Fatah, an activist, agreed adding: “We will not let the government blame eight people for the failure of state security."