Two men who served as revolutionary symbols during the 2011 Egyptian Revolution [JURIST backgrounder] were referred to trial on Thursday for charges of participating in an illegal protest and allegedly assaulting policemen. The first hearing for the two men, Ahmed Douma and Ahmed Maher, will be held on Sunday. Douma and Maher are now the first activists [AP report] to be sent to trial on charges relating to a recently enacted law [JURIST report] circumscribing citizens' right to protest in public. Douma was arrested [JURIST report] Tuesday according to a posted tweet. The men played a key role in the protests that forced the resignation [JURIST report] of former President Hosni Mubarak [JURIST news archives] in 2011, but more recently they have joined other activists in protesting many of the actions of the country's current government.
Egypt has faced political unrest since its Revolution, which began more than two years ago. Earlier this week Egypt's draft constitution was finalized [JURIST report] by a 50-member assembly, creating uncertainty about the country's election procedures. The draft dictates that elections are to take place within the first six months of the constitution's ratification. However, the draft does not determine whether a presidential election should be held before or after parliamentary elections. Last week, Egyptian blogger and activist Alaa Abd El Fattah [Twitter feed] was arrested [JURIST report] on charges of inciting a demonstration in violation of the country's controversial new law restricting rights to protest. Egypt Prosecutor General Hisham Bakarat issued a warrant [AP report] for Abd El Fattah for failing to notify the police [AhramOnline report] in advance of the protests he allegedly organized.