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.