Egyptian courts sentence protesters to five years in prison
Egyptian courts sentence protesters to five years in prison

Egyptian officials announced on Sunday the conviction and prison sentences of over one hundred demonstrators who were peacefully assembling without a permit. Fifty one individuals were sentenced [Ahram report] to two years in prison while another hundred and one individuals were sentenced to five years in prison. The sentences were handed down on Saturday in connection with the April demonstrations [Daily News Egypt report] to protest the Red Sea islands being turned over to Saudia Arabia. Many believed the islands were apart of an economic deal [Aljazeera report], and protested against the government decision, leading to the charges of joining terrorist groups and disturbing the peace. The demonstrations were interrupted by police officers who prevented a large scale protest by using tear gas and other security measures. The courts are permitting the convicted to appeal [Ruters report], as their is a dispute about the evidence and a claim that innocent bystanders were arrested in the disturbance.

Egypt [BBC profile] has been internationally scrutinized in recent months over allegations of human rights infringements and free speech violations. Three UN rights experts on Monday urged [JURIST report] the Egyptian government to end its oppressive response towards human rights advocates in the country. In early May an Egyptian court sentenced [JURIST report] six people, including three journalists, to death for allegedly leaking state secrets to Qatar. Last month Egypt’s Court of Cassation overturned the five-year prison sentences of 35 Al-Azhar students, ordering a retrial [JURIST report]. Earlier in April three UN human rights experts urged Egypt to cease its cease [JURIST report] its ongoing crackdown on humans rights defenders and organizations.