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Egypt issues lengthy prison sentences to opposition activists

March 6, 2023 at 12:59 pm

Human rights lawyer Hoda Abdelmonem (R), Aisha Khairat Al-Shater (L) [Twitter]

The Emergency State Security Court in Egypt issued prison sentences yesterday ranging from five years to life for dozens of activists in the “Egyptian Coordination for Rights and Freedoms case”. The defendants were charged with belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood, and included the movement’s former Secretary-General Mahmoud Hussein, Aisha Khairat Al-Shater, Huda Abdel Moniem, Ezzat Ghoneim and lawyer Mohammad Abu Horayra.

The court sentenced seventeen defendants, including Hussein and two women, to life sentences. Seven others were sentenced to 15 years in maximum security, while four were sentenced to 10 years. Huda Abdel Moniem and Ahmed Maatouq Salam were sentenced to five years, but Marwa Madbouly Ahmed was acquitted.

The court decided to include all of the defendants on the terrorism lists and place them on probation for five years after the end of their sentences. The website of the Egyptian Coordination for Rights and Freedoms was ordered to be shut down.

The Egyptian Coordination for Rights and Freedoms described these rulings as an example of the oppression and lack of justice in Egypt. The organisation stressed its complete rejection of the sentences. “They were issued in an unfair trial, in which the defendants did not have the basic elements of justice, beginning with arbitrary arrest, enforced disappearance and torture.”

The trial, it added, was an example of the Egyptian government’s abuse and retaliation against Egyptian human rights activists. “It provided additional evidence of the false claims about the seriousness of the national dialogue, the so-called national strategy for human rights, and the lifting of the state of emergency, which is continuing, along with other repressive laws. Its exceptional courts disregard all guarantees of a fair trial.”

Sentences issued by the Emergency State Security Court are considered final, after the President of the Republic ratifies them. There is no appeal.

News of the sentences was shared on Twitter and other social media. Many users described them as arbitrary and unfair.

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