Criminal Justice ECESR Press Releases

Criminal Justice | Appeal against Imprisonment of Two Defendants of 2014 Mohamed Mahmoud Clashes Turned Down

The Misdemeanor Court held in South Cairo Court of First Instance premises turned down the appeal against the imprisonment of two defendants Mohammed Ashraf Mohammed and Mohammed Sherif Mohamed for fifteen days, issued by the appeal Magistrate of Abdeen  Misdemeanor Circuit on November 22, 2014. The Magistrate had remanded them in custody pending investigations by the Public Prosecutor’s Office on charges of allegedly possessing publications with the purpose of toppling the state’s political and social systems, and participating in a demonstration that violated public order and peace without notifying the competent authorities. The defendants were arrested shortly before the third anniversary of Mohamed Mahmoud clashes.

It is noteworthy that the Court Circuit that considered the appeal on Monday, November 24th has disclosed its intentions by turning down the appeal before considering it and through the contempt manner of asking them: “you’re accused of toppling the regime,” a count not included in the counts leveled by the Public Prosecutor. The judge asked them another question: “Are you Azhar students? It was negated by the defense, explaining that the defendants’ data is accurate.

The lawyers submitted that there were no justifications to remand the defendants in custody in the grounds that their places of residence are fixed and known. In the case of the second defendant Mohammed Sherif Mohamed, 17, and a high school student, the lawyers invoked the provisions of the Children’s Act, which obliges the Court to take into account the child interest and not to imprison him/her with adult criminals. The court replied in two words, “at the end of hearing.” After waiting for more than three hours the circuit secretary was summoned to file a decision that had been already disclosed through the court’s conduct.

The Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR) believes that this is a new episode of crackdown against whomever tries to express his/her opinion peacefully and against all constitutional rights that ensure the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly and demonstration. It is a continuation of the policy of remanding in custody as a punishment.

Many political forces and movements have called for the commemoration of the casualties Mohamed Mahmoud clashes. In this process more than 150 people were arrested, and then released except for the two mentioned above.

Mohamed Mahmoud Street clashes occurred during the period from November 19 until November 25, 2011 under the reign of the Military Council. The clashes started after the police broke up a sit-in held by dozens of families and relatives of the Revolution victims along with the injured in Tahrir Square by force. Two of the protesters were injured and four citizens arrested. In response, thousands of citizens and rebels took to the Square and the police forces received them by using batons, electric detonators, live ammunition, rubber bullets, cartridges and tear gas. The demonstrators faced them with stones and fireworks like Molotov cocktails. The clashes left 61 dead and 4,455 people injured.

In November 2012, the first anniversary of Mohamed Mahmoud clashes, under Mohamed Morsi, other clashes occurred after the security forces attacked demonstrators. The clashes left 4 dead, 364 people injured, and 541 people arrested.

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