The Cairo Court of Urgent Matters held the first session Sunday in a trial to designate 6 April Youth Movement as a terrorist organisation, but adjourned the case to 20 April.
Ashraf Farahat, the lawyer who filed the lawsuit against the movement, told Daily News Egypt that the case is based on statements from the organisation’s members and officials. Farahat added that the movement’s members said in the statements they joined protests in the Matariya neighbourhood of Cairo on the 25 January Revolution’s fourth anniversary, which “saw at least 18 citizens killed”.
Clashes between security forces and protesters killed 23 protesters and injured 97 more, according to the Ministry of Interior’s official count. Three of those injured were policemen, while one policeman was killed.
Farahat said the 6th of April Movement joined “militant protests with the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood on the revolution anniversary”. Most clashes with demonstrators took place in Matariya, which also saw the highest death toll.
Farahat added the case should be transferred to the appeal court to be judged on the new “terrorist entities” law considering the case was filed before the law’s issuance.
President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi issued a decree on 24 February approving the “terrorist entities” law, detailing offences necessary for a group or organisation to be labelled a “terrorist entity”.
The law consists of 10 articles: article 1 defines a terrorist entity as any group “practicing or intending to advocate by any means to disturb public order or endanger the safety of the community and its interests or risk its security or harm national unity”.
The organisation that helped ignite the 25 January Revolution which toppled former president Hosni Mubarak said the trial “summarises the situation in Egypt”, according to a statement on the group’s official Facebook page.
The statement explained: “The organisation that was one of three nominees for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 for its role in spreading the culture of non-violent change…is threatened to be designated a terrorist entity in Egypt under the current regime.”
The 6th of April movement has been an ever-present participant in the major political changes Egypt has witnessed in the last four years. They participated in protests that helped topple both Mubarak and the Muslim Brotherhood regime in 2013.