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Prosecution against activists continues over Red Sea islands protests - Daily News Egypt

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Prosecution against activists continues over Red Sea islands protests

Zizo Abdo’s release delayed by prosecution appeal; Hamdy Qeshta’s detention renewed

Despite being granted a court release on Sunday, political activist Zizo Abdo will remain in detention following a prosecution’s appeal on the court ruling.

Abdo’s release was conditional. According to his defence lawyer Mokhtar Mounir, Abdo should present himself at a police station three days a week for four hours a day over a period of 45 days.

Even with such precautionary measures, Abdo has to wait for a new court decision regarding the prosecution appeal against his release on Tuesday.

In statements to Al-Araby TV on Sunday evening, Mounir criticised the prosecution’s appeal and the initial court’s verdict which he said “did not guarantee full freedom to Abdo”.

“Moreover, Abdo has already spent five months in detention for a case in which many others were released,” Mounir added.

He clarified that Abdo is accused of joining an illegal group, but that investigations behind the charges didn’t reveal what the group was called. Abdo is also facing charges for inciting protests, although Mounir claimed that there was no legal text criminalising incitement of protests in Egyptian law.

Like dozens of political and rights activists, Abdo was detained amid the backdrop of protests that erupted in April upon significant calls from rights groups and some political parties, in contestation of a maritime borders agreement signed between Egypt and Saudi Arabia that gave the latter sovereignty over the Red Sea islands of Tiran and Sanafir.

Among them was prominent rights lawyer from the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR) Malek Adly, who was detained for nearly three months under harsh conditions. Adly was first granted a release on 25 August, but the prosecution appealed the decision. The court upheld his release and he was freed a few days later.

Meanwhile, activist Hamdy Qeshta, who is detained for the same reason, saw his detention further renewed for 15 days on Sunday. He was arrested at a protest against the transfer of the sovereignty of Tiran and Sanafir islands to Saudi Arabia in the Boulaq Al-Dakrour district on 25 April.

There were protests held in several governorates in Egypt on 15 and 25 April, during which demonstrators chanted that the islands were Egyptian. In June, a State Council verdict nullified the agreement, after rights lawyers challenged the government regarding the signed agreement.

Nevertheless, the detention of young protesters raised controversy on a larger scale, as media supporters of the regime denounced their arrest. Many groups of arrested protesters were acquitted by court in the following weeks.

The case continues to be looked into by the court as the government appealed the annulment verdict.



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