A court in Egypt upheld three-year jail sentences on three prominent liberal activists for violations of the country’s controversial protest law. The decision Tuesday leaves Ahmed Maher, Ahmed Douma and Mohammed Adel with no other legal recourse, according to the Associated Press.
The three leading pro-democracy activists have already spent over a year in jail after their conviction in December 2013 for organizing an illegal demonstration in breach of the 2013 law criminalizing political gatherings of more than 10 people without prior permission. All three men were accused of assaulting police officers during the demonstration and received three-year jail terms and were ordered to pay 50,000 Egyptian pounds ($6723) in fines, reported Egypt’s state-run Al Ahram.
Maher and Adel were founding members of the April 6 Youth Movement that played a key role in Egypt’s 2011 uprising that led to the ouster of former dictator Hosni Mubarak. They are among the thousands of political opponents of the current military-backed regime of President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi who have been arrested and tried on charges criminalizing political protests. Human rights groups have been sharply critical of the protest measure, with Amnesty International condemning it as a “blatant violation of international law.”
Despite the crackdown on dissent, renewed protests marked the fourth anniversary of the start of the country’s 2011 revolution this past weekend. At least 25 people were killed in anti-government protests on Sunday, reported Reuters. A car bomb also killed one person and wounded two near a police station in Egypt’s second city, Alexandria, Tuesday, in an attack security sources have blamed on militant Islamists.
Sisi’s critics have accused him of restoring authoritarian rule and returning the country to the iron-fisted political order seen under Mubarak. Under Sisi’s watch, security forces have mounted the biggest crackdown on Islamists in the country’s history, said Reuters. Liberal activists have also been imprisoned amid the crackdown.