Eleven jailed pending investigation ahead of Apr. 25 protests

Sunday 24-04-2016 12:05 PM

Activists protest Sisi's transfer of the Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia in front of the Journalists' Syndicate on April 15th, 2016. ASWAT MASRIYA

CAIRO, Apr 24 (Aswat Masriya) - Egyptian prosecutors ordered on Sunday the detention of 11 persons for four days pending investigation ahead of protests planned for Apr. 25 in the aftermath of Sisi’s decision to hand over control over two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia.  

An interior ministry source had said on Friday that security forces arrested at least 40 people on Thursday night during a series of raids on downtown Cairo’s cafés. While most of those arrested were released later, 14 people remained in custody and were getting interrogated, the source added. 

The East Cairo prosecution also ordered on Sunday the release of two of the arrested after interrogations that lasted till the early hours of Sunday.

The cafés were targeted “to arrest outlaws, people who have escaped trials, and to fend off the supporters of the terrorist organisation of the Muslim Brotherhood about the Homeland Security apparatus received information that they are planning to protest on Sinai Liberation Day,” the security source said on Friday.

On Saturday, prosecutors also ordered the detention a leading figure of the Revolutionary Socialists movement, Haitham Mohamdeen, over accusations of belonging to a "terrorist group" which the prosecution did not name, inciting protests and possession of leaflets at his house.

Thousands of protesters gathered on Apr. 15 in front of the press syndicate under the slogan "Friday of the Land" to protest against an Egyptian-Saudi border demarcation agreement which the Egyptian government signed earlier in April.

The agreement, which has yet to be ratified by the parliament, stipulates that the two Red Sea islands of Tiran and Sanafir are part of Saudi territorial waters.

Protesters ended the demonstration then but said they will resume protesting on Apr. 25, which coincides with Sinai Liberation Day.

Friday's protests brought many Egyptians back to the streets after months of reduced participation in political activity.  

A protest law issued in November 2013 and described by Amnesty International as "draconian" outlines regulations and conditions for peaceful protest which practically ban protests. 

Mass protests that turned into an uprising in January 2011 led the ouster of then-President Hosni Mubarak after he ruled the country for 30 years.

The incumbent president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, was elected in 2014 after he led the military ouster of former president Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood in mid-2013 following mass protests against Mursi's rule.

Sisi's once-wide popularity has faced challenges in the past months, most recently after the controversial maritime border demarcation agreement with Saudi Arabia.

While Egypt has been braced for protests planned for Monday, Apr. 25, Sisi said on Saturday that he is confident that Egyptians will remain united "in the face of evil efforts ... and calls for skepticism and frustration."


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