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Court renews detention of ‘Youth of 25 January’ defendants for 15 days - Daily News Egypt

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Court renews detention of ‘Youth of 25 January’ defendants for 15 days

Four defendants were earlier released, remaining six are still in detention

The Supreme State Security Prosecution further renewed on Sunday the detention of six defendants accused of belonging to an outlawed group called “Youth of 25 January” for 15 days.

The case originally included 10 defendants, four of whom were previously released, while the remaining six are still in detention.

Defence lawyer Mokhtar Mounir told Daily News Egypt no trial has yet been scheduled for the defendants and the Sunday session was only to decide whether to release them. The Sunday session was the first summoning of the defendants before the prosecution.

According to Mounir, who works for the Association of Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE), the arrest of the 10 defendants occurred on different dates and the prosecution has yet to present any evidence in the case.

“There were no records of phone calls or meetings between them presented by the prosecution, yet they all face similar charges, which is belonging to the outlawed group,” according to Mounir.

Two of the defendants—Ahmed Hassan and Sayed Fathallah—were additionally charged with belonging to the Tamarod movement and were accused of possessing confiscated items, including flyers that demanded the ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood regime in 2013.

“It is not a surprise that the state is going after those who took part in toppling its current worst enemy, the Muslim Brotherhood,” said Mounir. “Any person who belongs to the 25 January Revolution movement is now an enemy.”

Tamarod was a campaign founded by activists, including some who had elected Mohamed Morsi as president, such as current MP Mahmoud Badr. The campaign inspired an uprising against the Muslim Brotherhood regime that eventually led to Morsi’s ouster on 3 July 2013.

Ahead of the fifth anniversary of the 25 January Revolution, Egyptian authorities undertook unprecedented security measures to tighten the grip on protests and unrest. This extended to reports of random arrests and detentions in addition to military tanks surrounding Tahrir Square.

The detainees during this period included journalist Mahmoud Al-Sakka, who was later released. Al-Sakka, who works for Yanair news portal, was accused in the same trial.

Also accused in the trial is Khaled Al-Ansary, a second-year law school student. He was arrested from his home on 30 December 2015. Security forces stormed into his house and inspected his belongings and then took him to Boulaq Al-Dakrour police station, where he has received repeated detention renewals.

Al-Ansary is suffering from deteriorating health conditions inside the detention facility. “This was a major obstacle for him in terms of studying for his final exams,” Mounir said, adding that the detention facility he is being held in is overcrowded.

The state crackdown on 25 January Revolution supporters has also extended to other influential figures of the uprising, who are now behind bars. Mahienour El-Massry, an award winning rights lawyer and activist, is currently serving a prison sentence on charges of allegedly breaking into Al-Raml police station, an incident that took place amid the ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The recent arrests of activists sparked concern among NGOs. A joint statement signed by 15 NGOs in mid-March denounced claims that 25 January Revolution was an “evil conspiracy”, and highlighted that it was an uprising against corruption and belonging to it is not a crime.

In reference to the case, the statement also stated that there are no groups called “Youth of 25 January”.

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