EIPR Lawyers Win Acquittals for Ten Detainees in Protesting Cases

Press Release

1 September 2014

The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights today welcomed the acquittal earlier this week of ten people who had been detained in political demonstrations earlier this year in Alexandria.

Lawyers in EIPR Alexandria office represented all ten defendants who faced charges that are often raised against political detainees including the violation of the draconian protest law. Seven of the defendants spent fifty-six days in pre-trial detention before they were acquitted this Saturday. The remaining three stayed in prison for three months before they were finally found innocent on Sunday.

At least 22 thousand political prisoners remain in detention facilities across the country according to conservative reports. In cases related to political dissent, long pre-trial detention periods have become a punishment rather than a precautionary measure to ensure defendants stand trial.

Yara Sallam, 28 years old and a transitional justice expert at EIPR, and twenty two other young men and women have been locked up for the past eleven weeks after being arrested from the vicinity of a political march in Cairo. All requests to release the twenty three prisoners or bring the date of their first substantive trial session forward were denied by the authorities. One of the prisoners, Sanaa Seif, was recently released for a few hours to attend the funeral of her father- prominent human rights lawyer, Ahmed Seif.

EIPR calls for a serious reconsideration of the use and application of pre-trial detention. EIPR also calls for the abolishment of the draconian protest law that effectively bans political demonstrations thus infringing on citizens’ right to peaceful assembly.