Egyptian Court Jails 23 Activists For Protesting

CAIRO (AP) -

An Egyptian court on Sunday convicted 23 activists of staging an illegal demonstration, sentencing them each to three years in jail in the latest crackdown by authorities on the secular pro-democracy movement behind the 2011 uprising against longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak.

The Cairo court also fined the defendants, who include at least seven women, 10,000 pounds (about $1,400) each and ordered that they be placed under police surveillance after they serve their sentence.

The case is rooted in a peaceful demonstration the defendants had allegedly participated in last June near the presidential palace in Cairo’s Heliopolis suburb. The demonstration was called to protest a law adopted late last year severely restricting the right to stage street protests.

The defendants have also faced other charges, including damaging public property and assaulting policemen.

The conviction of the 23 is the latest in a government crackdown against secular pro-democracy activists, many of whom were iconic figures of the 2011 uprising that forced Mubarak to step down in February 2011.