The North Giza Child Court sentenced five children to five years in prison on Thursday, on charges of unlicensed protest against the transfer of the Tiran and Sanafir islands sovereignty to Saudi Arabia.
The court also fined the defendants a bail of EGP 100. Only two children were present during the court ruling, while the other three were sentenced in absentia.
The ruling sparked uproar among social media users and political activists, as they believe the verdict is too harsh on children, especially since the judge rejected to listen to the defence and did not allow the latter to view the case documents.
The five children are also accused of belonging to an outlawed group and threatening the country’s national security. They were arrested at a demonstration in Dokki on 25 April, which protested against the maritime demarcation deal between Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
Court sessions against protesters in the Red Sea islands case continue despite the State Council’s decision to annul the maritime agreement. The transfer of sovereignty of the Tiran and Sanafir islands to Saudi Arabia proved to be hugely controversial among intellectuals, public figures, social media users, and activists.