[JURIST] An Egyptian court on Wednesday sentenced a prominent activist from the 2011 revolution to 15 years in prison for organizing an unsanctioned protest and assaulting a police officer last year. Activist and blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah [Twitter feed, in Arabic] was forced to wait outside of a courtroom at Cairo’s Torah Prison while he was tried in absentia inside. Abdel Fattah, who was released on bail [JURIST report] in March, was charged along with 23 other co-defendants for a protest in Cairo that occurred in November of last year. The men were protesting provisions in a new constitution that would allow civilians to be tried in military courts, breaching a law banning all but police-sanctioned protests. The defendants were additionally fined LE 100,000 each and will be placed on five years probation after the completion of their sentences. The conviction is the first of a leading activist since Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi took the office of the presidency on Sunday. Abdel-Fattah is expected to be granted a retrial.
Political conflict in Egypt has been ongoing since the 2011 revolution [JURIST backgrounder] that ousted former president Hosni Mubarak from power. Conflict has recently occurred between supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and the former government of Muhammed Morsi, and supporters of the new government in place since his ouster [JURIST report] in July, especially since the organization’s formal ban [JURIST report] in September. The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) voiced concern [JURIST report] about human rights violations in Egypt in November 2011, specifically with respect to the military trial and jailing of a blogger/activist” Abdel Fatah.