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Egypt: Family of sisters detained for protesting in solidarity with 'martyr of chivalry' call for their release

18-year-old high school student Mahmoud El-Banna was stabbed to death after defending a sexual harassment victim [Twitter]
18-year-old high school student Mahmoud El-Banna was stabbed to death after defending a sexual harassment victim on 10 October 2019

The family of two sisters who were forcibly disappeared while demanding justice for the family of a young man who was killed after protecting a girl in Egypt have appealed to authorities to release them.

Mahmoud El-Banna, 18, was killed by Mohamed Rageh at the beginning of October after El-Banna intervened when Rageh was sexually harassing and beating a female student in the street.

Earlier that evening, El-Banna posted on Facebook "it's not manly to beat a girl in the street." In retaliation, Rageh and two of his friends ambushed El-Banna and stabbed him three times in the neck and the stomach.

Last week Rageh's trial was postponed following requests that the court prove he was under 18.

If it had been found he was over 18 he would have faced the death penalty for premeditated murder. As a minor, he would continue to be tried in a juvenile court and faces between ten and 15 years in prison.

Safa and Ghada Rajab were two of a total of 22 people who were arrested outside the court where they were protesting in solidarity with the El-Banna family.

Egypt arrests 22 for incitement during martyr of chivalry trial

A video captures one of the girls being dragged away by security forces and violently bundled into a van.

The defendants were accused of belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood and of using El-Banna's murder to "incite the public against the state".

Egyptian authorities arrested 83 women in September alone as part of a widescale crackdown as the government moved to stamp out calls for President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi to stand down.

Over 2,350 people were arrested in the space of two weeks, including activists, journalists and former detainees.

Since the 2013 coup almost 3,000 women have been arrested, despite the fact that women were seen as a red line by previous regimes.

A child criminal court in Shebin Al-Koum in the Nile Delta has now confirmed that Mohammed Rageh is under 18.

Note: This page was update at 14.33 GMT on October 28,2019 to correct instances of "Rajeh" to "Rageh".

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