A group of nine people were sentenced on Tuesday to two years in prison for illegal assembly, among who are three members of secular activists from the 6 April Youth Movement.
The assembly took place in January 2014 in Talaat Harb Square, Downtown Cairo to advocate for the release of the people detained during the third anniversary of the 25 January Revolution.
Coordinator of the 6 April Youth Movement Amr Aly said: “The assembly was very small and did not violate the Protest Law; as soon as the first five persons showed up, the police forces arrested them.” The controversial Protest Law defines a demonstration as the gathering of more than 10 people in a public space to express their opinions, make demands, or for political purposes.
Aly said that when other people from the area came to the scene, some of them were also arrested.
The nine people were detained for violating the Protest Law. A month later they were released on bail, until the verdict was issued on Tuesday.
“We’re going to proceed with a retrial,” Aly added.
The issuing of the Protest Law by the interim government in November 2013 came at a time of frequent clashes between Muslim Brotherhood supporters and security forces. Since the law was enacted, it has been used to build several cases against students and activists, on charges of “illegal assembly”.
The legislation includes restrictions on protests, marches and public meetings and requires a three-day notice for protests. It allows the Minister of Interior to move or change the route of assemblies or cancel them.