Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat—An Egyptian court has adjourned the appeals of three prominent political activists against their prison sentences until February 10.
Ahmed Maher and Mohamed Adel, both founding members of the April 6 Youth Movement, and political activist Ahmed Douma were each handed three-year jail sentences and fines of 50,000 Egyptian pounds (7,200 US dollars) in December for holding demonstrations against a new protest law put forward by the country’s interim government.
All three activists played prominent roles during the January 25 revolution, which ended three decades of autocratic rule by ousted president Hosni Mubarak.
The three men also supported the June 30 protests that ousted former President Mohamed Mursi, but have been critical of the post-June 30 interim government.
The interim government introduced a law in November banning any protests not authorized by the police.
Amr Imam, a lawyer for the activists, told Asharq Al-Awsat that they were “in good health and in high spirits.” He denied reports that they had been on hunger strike. He added that “the course of the trial is pointing to an acquittal,” although the judge did not grant the three release on bail.
Despite the optimism at the hearing, the decision to refuse bail has caused anger among young political activists, which the authorities have sought to avoid.
After the three men were sentenced in December, the April 6 Youth Movement announced its withdrawal from participation in the transitional roadmap introduced by the military-backed interim government following Mursi’s ouster last year. A number of youth leaders have also rejected an invitation to visit the presidential palace to mark the January 25 revolution in response to the convictions.
Sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that security officials assisted by sympathetic media outlets have been attempting to reduce tension between the interim government and youth activists by toning down their criticism of activists in the media.
The state-run MENA news agency said Cairo governor Jalal Sa’id had decided to name a street after activist Mohamed Mostafa, an engineering student who was killed in the Nasr City area of Cairo in December 2011.
MENA said Sa’id had also decided to name a south Cairo school after student Ahmed Khalifah, who also died during the 2011 uprising. The governor said the decisions were made to “mark their memory and their nationalist roles.”
Mohamed Kamal, the deputy head of the media bureau of the April 6 Youth Movement, said on Sunday that the movement intends to hold a number of events to mark the upcoming third anniversary of the January 25 revolution. He added that the group would mobilize to demand the release of the detainees, saying: “The leaders of the movement intend to escalate [events] at all levels if they [the activists] remain incarcerated.”