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EU condemns rulings against Egyptian activists

February 5, 2014 at 1:23 am

The office of the EU’s High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the Commission, Catherine Ashton, has expressed concern about the ruling of an Egyptian court on Sunday against three members of the 6 April youth movement.

Ashton’s spokesperson issued a statement saying that: “The High Representative is concerned about the guilty verdict, the prison sentences and the financial penalty handed down by a court in Egypt against political activists Ahmed Maher, a founder of the 6 April Movement, Ahmed Douma and Mohammed Adel.”

The statement added that: “These sentences appear to be based on the recently enacted protest law which is widely seen as limiting excessively freedom of expression and assembly. The High Representative expresses the hope that these sentences could be reviewed in an appeals process.”

Ashton’s spokesperson reiterated the importance of freedom of expression and assembly in Egypt for the continuation of “the interim government’s roadmap”.

The statement also expressed Ashton’s concern over the recent security raid on the offices of the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights.

At the same time, the office of the High Representative affirmed the EU’s continued “support for a sustainable democracy that meets the aspirations of the Egyptian people and its readiness to cooperate with Egyptians to see their transition succeed.”

Meanwhile James Moran, the Head of the EU Delegation in Egypt, held a press conference last Thursday to announce that there will not be a suspension of EU aid to Egypt, but rather an increase in assistance. He also took the opportunity to announce the approval of an EU grant to Egypt totalling $380 million for development projects on public services.