[JURIST] An Egyptian court on Sunday reduced the sentence of the prominent activist Mahienour El-Masry from two years to six months, and fined her LE50,000 (USD $7,000), for violating Egypt’s protest law. El-Masry was found guilty of violating Egypt’s protest law after being arrested for protesting during the Khaled Said murder retrial in December. During the protest El-Masry and eight other protesters allegedly organized an unauthorized protest, blocked off the road, assaulted a police officer and destroyed a police vehicle. El-Masry has been in prison since May. While imprisoned, a pro-rights group created the “Free Mahienour” campaign [Twitter account] to urge El-Masry’s release. El-Masry is expected to stand trial Monday for other protest related crimes.
Egypt has faced political unrest since its revolution [JURIST backgrounder], which began more than two years ago. Last year 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 year 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 for Abd El Fattah for failing to notify the police [AhramOnline report] in advance of the protests he allegedly organized.