Prosecutors appeal court decision to release 9 held in connection with Mohamed Mahmoud anniversary

Sunday 22-11-2015 03:16 PM
Prosecutors appeal court decision to release 9 held in connection with Mohamed Mahmoud anniversary

Activists stand on 6th of October bridge in Cairo on the fourth anniversary of Mohamed Mahmoud events on 19 November, 2015 . ASWATMASRIYA/Asmaa Gamal.


By Hend Kortam

CAIRO, Nov. 22 (Aswat Masriya) - Prosecutors are appealing a court decision issued earlier on Sunday to release on bail nine people who are in detention for "illegal assembly" and "protesting without a permit," while commemorating the fourth anniversary of deadly protests in an iconic Downtown Cairo street. 

A judge had decided to release them on EGP 10,000 bail each but prosecutors appealed the decision and the appeal will be viewed in court on Monday. 

Fatal clashes on Mohamed Mahmoud Street four years ago in the tumultuous aftermath of the January 2011 uprising, became known as the Mohamed Mahmoud events, a heart-rending memory for many young Egyptians whose dreams for real change were swiftly being dashed.

Today, the walls of Mohamed Mahmoud Street are an open gallery showcasing graffiti of the faces of those killed in the protests, pointing the finger of blame on all those who took power in the past five years.

Last Thursday, Nov. 19, which coincided with the fourth anniversary of Mohamed Mahmoud, participants built a human chain on Six of October bridge, a main artery in Greater Cairo, carrying hand-written signs remembering the victims. One of them read "glory to the martyrs" and another "write on the walls of the cell, imprisoning revolutionaries is a disgrace and a betrayal."  

Ahmed Hefny, the prosecutor at Cairo's Qasr al-Nil neighbourhood previously told Aswat Masriya that the detainees are accused of disrupting traffic, assembling, disseminating leaflets and protesting without a permit.

Egypt's latest protest law has been widely criticised by domestic and international human rights organisations which say it violates international standards that allow peaceful protests. But many, mostly youth, have been detained and convicted for violating it since its introduction in November 2013.

According to prosecutors, the nine currently in detention belong to April 6 Youth Movement. Their crime was organising a protest of 50 people, blocking traffic on the bridge on their way to Cairo's Tahrir Square and carrying "anti-establishment" signs.

On Thursday evening, the movement criticised security forces in an online statement, claiming that they had set up camp in Downtown Cairo near Mohamed Mahmoud Street, carrying "all [kinds of] weapons."

This was to prevent any marches or demonstrations to commemorate the event. By 6:30 pm, the group said seven had been arrested but did not specify whether they belong to the group.

The clashes on Mohamed Mahmoud Street erupted on November 19, 2011, and continued for five days. Security forces clashed with protesters opposing the transitional rule of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) in violence that left 50 people dead.  

At the time they were the deadliest clashes since the January 2011 uprising. Their significance was accentuated by the proximity of the violence to Egypt's interior ministry headquarters just blocks away.

The protests also marked the growing rift that was starting to show between different groups of protesters, with many criticising the Muslim Brotherhood for abandoning the "revolutionaries" as they were preoccupied with campaigning for parliamentary elections that were held over several months from 2011-2012, in which the Brotherhood snapped up 47 percent of seats in Egypt's then-bicameral People's Assembly.

On the anniversary of Mohamed Mahmoud protests last year, 48 protesters were arrested.

facebook comments