December 23, 2013 - 10:14 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Three leading figures of Egypt's 2011 uprising were jailed for three years each on Sunday, Dec 22 for their role in recent protests, as the army-backed authorities intensified a crackdown on dissent, according to Reuters.
Ahmed Maher, Ahmed Douma and Mohamed Adel are symbols of the protest movement that ignited the revolt that toppled President Hosni Mubarak in 2011. Their sentences include prison labor and fines of 50,000 Egyptian pounds ($7,200) each.
As the verdict was read, the three chanted "Down, down with military rule!" from the cage where defendants stand in Egyptian courts. The session, held at a police facility on the outskirts of Cairo, was attended by several European diplomats.
The verdict was the first under a law passed by the army-backed government in November that requires police permission for demonstrations. The case, in which the defendants were charged with protesting without permission and assaulting police, stemmed from protests called in defiance of the law.
Already pressing a fierce crackdown against the Muslim Brotherhood movement of deposed president Mohamed Mursi, the authorities have arrested a number of secular activists in recent weeks for breaches of the protest law.
Critics see it as an attempt to stifle the kind of street activism common since the 2011 uprising as the government proceeds with a new political transition plan. The next step is a mid-January referendum on a new constitution.