The Cairo Criminal Court has ordered the detention of 20 defendants in the Shura Council case, including activist Alaa Abd El Fattah, until the next trial date of November 11. Monday’s court session was the first since the judge presiding over the case stepped down in September and released Abd El-Fattah and two other defendants from prison on bail.
The defendants face charges of organizing an unauthorized protest last November
outside the Shura Council. They are also accsued of having attacked a police officer, stolen a walkie-talkie, hooliganism, having blocked the road adn crowded in a public place plus the destruction of public property.
Last June, the 25 defendants were sentenced to 15 years jail in absentia and a LE100,000 fine. However,Abd El Fattah, Mohamed Noubi and Wael Metwally were arrested outside the Police Academy at Tora prison on the morning of the trial.Twenty-one defendants demanded a retrial, two were sentenced in absentia and the remaining two did not file for a retrial. With the exception of Metwally, all of the defendants were present during Monday’s court session along with their lawyers and family members.
Following the court’s ruling, Abd El Fattah was taken outside the
courtroom alone before guards returned to collect the remaining
Abd El Fattah’s sister, Sanaa, was handed down a three-year prison sentence on Sunday along with another 22 activists on similar charges stemming from their protest last summer at the Ettehadiya Presidential Palace.
In response to Monday’s ruling, Abd El Fattah’s mother Laila Soueif and other sister, Mona Seif, declared that they would escalate their hunger strike. They started a hunger strike on September 4 following Abd El Fattah and Sanaa’s imprisonment.In a statement they said on Monday they would abstain from water as well until their relatives were released.