The sentencing of eight political activists on Monday led to fights on the courthouse steps, which resulted in the arrest of nine people.
The Suez Military Court handed down its sentence at the trial of eight activists charged with incitement of violence in the Abbassiya clashes in May, after five postponements of sentencing.
The judge sentenced seven of the defendants to six months in prison. The eighth defendant, Mohamed Ghareeb, was sentenced to three years in prison.
According to eyewitness Mo’men Ahmad, protestors outside the court were upset when hearing the sentence on the defendants, leading to clashes between them and the military police guarding the court.
They were then arrested by Mahmoud Hassanein, a general brigadier.
“A large number of military policemen were present at the court today, as well as three army tanks.” Ahmad told the Daily News Egypt. “They closed down all roads leading to the court.
“So once the clashes began, they started attacking the protesters and nobody was able to run away.”
Ragia Omran, from the No to Military Trials movement, told the Daily News Egypt that the entire movement is extremely upset about the latest court sentences.
“Just nine days following President Mohamed Morsy’s inauguration, eight protesters get a military court verdict sentencing them all to jail.” Omran said. “It doesn’t look like a good sign.”
The detainees had already gone on hunger strike last Thursday, after president Morsy decided upon the creation of a committee to investigate the situation of all detainees undergoing military trials.
According to Ahmad, one of the detainees was moved to hospital on Sunday after suffering from the side effects of the hunger strike. Mohamed Sami, who was moved to hospital Monday for the same reason, has been sentenced to six months in jail.
“He’s only 16 years old!” Ahmad said.
People had been gathering in front of the court since the beginning of the trial, joined by families of the defendants as well as some activists from Cairo, among them the political activist and blogger Nawara Negm.
Following the announcement of the sentence, calls for protesting the verdict at the presidential palace were all over Twitter.
At the time of printing, five protesters were chanting at the presidential palace waiting for others to join.
Detainees were arrested in front of the Governorate building on Friday, 4 May, while protesting the clashes which occurred between protesters and the military police in the Abasseya district on the same day.
They were accused of attacking a governmental building as well as military personnel.
Ghareeb tweeted one last message from his Twitter account before he was taken into custody after the verdict.
“I will miss you all,” Ghareeb wrote.