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Egypt Court Sentences 7 Detainees to 8 Years in Prison for Red Sea Islands Protests

Egypt Court Sentences 7 Detainees to 8 Years in Prison for Red Sea Islands Protests

Activists protest Sisi's transfer of the Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia in front of the Journalists' Syndicate on April 15th, 2016. ASWAT MASRIYA
Activists protest Sisi’s transfer of the Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia in front of the Journalists’ Syndicate on April 15th, 2016. ASWAT MASRIYA

A Giza court sentenced on Saturday seven defendants to eight years in prison and fined them EGP 500 each for protesting against the maritime border demarcation agreement between Egypt and Saudi Arabia without a permit.

The court sentenced the defendants to three years in jail on charges of planning a “terrorist crime,” and to five years on charges of protesting, spreading rumours, and possessing leaflets and official documents on their electronic devices.

The defendants were arrested on April 27, while prosecution had charged them with “spreading false news about Tiran and Sanafir with the intention of disturbing public peace, and using religion as a tool to promote their ideas.”

The maritime border demarcation agreement between Egypt and Saudi Arabia stirred up controversy in Egypt when it was signed in April, with critics accusing President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi for “selling Egypt’s land” in return for Saudi aid. The agreement stipulates that the islands of Tiran and Sanafir will fall within Saudi territorial waters.

The agreement, which has yet to be ratified in the Egyptian parliament, prompted thousands of Egyptians to take to the streets in rare protests on April 15 and April 25, amid a police campaign of mass arrests of activists opposed to the islands’ transfer.

President Sisi had defended his decision to hand over the two islands, saying in a televised speech in April that “Egypt does not sell its land to anyone and it does not take anyone’s land.”

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Aswat Masriya is a Thomson Reuters Foundation-sponsored website that covers Egypt's transition to democracy. en.aswatmasriya.com

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