A mother of one of the defendants cries after she heard the verdict of her son, an activist, at a court in Cairo, February 23, 2015. REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih
CAIRO, Jul 13 (Aswat Masriya) - Two young men were sent to maximum security prison by an Egyptian court on Monday, the latest ruling in the “Shura Council” trial that has garnered local and international attention.
Prosecutors had pressed several charges against the defendants, including breaching the protest law by "organising an unlicensed protest."
The two defendants had originally faced charges in absentia but have turned themselves in and requested retrial, a judicial source told Aswat Masriya.
The wider case features 25 defendants, including renowned political activist Alaa Abdel Fattah, who were put on trial after some of them organised a protest in Cairo, days after Egyptian authorities issued a protest law in November 2013.
In February, Abdel Fattah and one more defendant were sentenced to five years of maximum security prison, while the 18 other defendants who attended the trial were handed three-year prison sentences.
At the time, five defendants were facing trial in absentia. They include the two who were sentenced on Monday.
Egyptian law provides a retrial for a person sentenced in absentia once he or she is arrested.
This case eventually came to be known as the "Shura Council" case because the protest in question was held outside Egypt’s Shura Council, which previously served as one of two houses of parliament before Egypt switched to one legislature.
Egypt's protest law has been at the epicentre of wide criticism by domestic and international human rights organisations, ever since it was issued.