A group of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) called on the appeals court to immediately review the case of those involved in the El-Raml station case on Sunday.
Ten organisations, including the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), the Hisham Mubarak Law Centre (HMLC), and the Al Nadeem Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence, amongst others, said in the statement: “The verdict shows that there is an inclination from the Egyptian authorities to make up a number of lawsuits against human rights defenders. The authorities even reopened cases which were already closed a while ago, in order to be able to hold human rights defenders in their grip and bring them back into prison anytime.”
According to the NGOs, the verdict is an intentional punishment by the state, to keep punishing human rights activists by using vague and broad accusations, such as those used in the El-Raml police station case, namely insulting the Interior Ministry.
Lawyer and political activist Mahienour El-Massry and journalist Youssef Shaaban were initially sentenced, alongside eight other defendants, to two years imprisonment and fined EGP 50,000 by the Alexandria Misdemeanour Court. However, only El-Massry, Shaaban and Loai Al-Kahwagi, who is already in detention in a different case, issued an appeal against the verdict.
The case dates back to March 2013, during the Muslim Brotherhood era, where 10 activists and lawyers were accused of breaking into the El-Raml police station in Alexandria. A group of lawyers started a sit-in in front of El-Raml police station in Alexandria, demanding an official apology from the Interior Ministry regarding the injury of their fellow lawyer at the hands of police personnel. The lawyers were then arrested and accused of attempting to break into the police station.