Egypt’s public prosecutor has referred the founder of the 6 April Movement, Ahmed Maher, along with two other activists, for trial on charges that include protesting without permission. This is the first case to be referred for trial under the provisions of a new law that has been criticised for restricting the right to protest in Egypt.
Human rights activists argue that Egypt’s new protest law threatens the freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, which international law deems to be a universal right, because it allows the security services a monopoly over granting the permission to protest.
Egypt’s Deputy Prosecutor Wael Shibl pointed out that Maher faces other charges as well, including assaulting the police and “resisting the authorities.”
However, Maher is reported to have voluntarily surrendered himself to the authorities after learning that there were charges being brought against him.
Maher is considered by many to have played a major role in sparking the flames of the 25 January Revolution in 2011, which led to the overthrow of then-President Hosni Mubarak.
Shibl explained that Maher and his two companions Ahmad Doma and Mohamed Adel have all been referred for trial on the same charges.
US National Security Adviser Susan Rice has also criticised Egypt’s new protest law, which was issued on 24 November. In a speech to the Human Rights First Annual Summit, she stated that the law has a “deleterious impact” on rights in Egypt.
Rice said, “We have spoken out about the deleterious impact the new demonstrations law and its heavy-handed enforcement is having on freedom of assembly in Egypt, and we will continue to urge non-violence and progress on Egypt’s roadmap towards an inclusive and stable democracy.”
The suppression of the demonstrations that have erupted across Egypt following the 3 July coup against Mohammed Morsi – the first freely elected president in Egypt’s history – has resulted in the death of more than a thousand people and the injury of many thousands more.
Source: Al Resalah Net