Three prominent activists in Egypt are facing three years in jail for holding an unauthorized demonstration, thanks to the country's controversial new anti-protesting law.
Ahmed Maher, Ahmed Douma and Mohamed Adel were all found guilty for arranging a November protest outside the Egyptian parliament. (Via BBC)
The three had been protesting the very law they were convicted under, which says demonstrations of more than 10 people must be pre-authorized by the government. (Via Euronews)
They were also found guilty of rioting and assaulting security forces during the protest. Many in the courtroom erupted into anti-military chants after the verdict was read.
Maher and Adel both helped found the April 6 Youth Movement, one of the leading protest groups that sought to remove President Hosni Mubarak in 2011. Maher was a Nobel Peace Prize nominee in 2011. (Via CNN)
Their sentence is likely to increase tensions in the country, which after years of mass protests is now seeing more crackdowns on dissent. (Via ABC)
Islamists in opposition to the recent ousting of Mohammed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood government have recently been primary targets for arrest in the country. (Via Voice of America)
But the three liberal activists were the first verdicts in a case against non-Islamists since Morsi’s ousting, and they are the first to be jailed under the new law.
Human Rights Watch was quick to condemn the move, describing the law as “classic authoritarianism.”
The Egyptian government has defended itself against the criticism, saying the law is meant to protect the rights of protesters. (Via Channel 4)
On top of the three-year prison sentence, each of the activists has been ordered to pay more than $7,000 in fines