Human rights organization have condemned the mass sentencing of 230 defendants to life imprisonment, including the political activists Ahmed Douma and Hend Nafea, fining them more than LE17 million in total, for their involvement in the Cabinet clashes of 2011.
On Thursday around 17 Egyptian human rights organizations issued a statement criticizing the verdict, pointing to strong proof of considerable flaws in the Egyptian court ruling.
The organizations included the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, the National Group for Human Rights and Law, the Human Rights Association for the Assistance of Prisoners, the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights, the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights and the Hisham Mubarak Law Center.
“Despite the harsh mass verdict, there was not [any such verdict given] against the military and the police personnel who dispersed the protest and killed at least 17 protesters,” the statement read.
The Cabinet clashes became known for the image spread across social media of an anonymous woman being dragged by Central Security Forces across Tahrir Square as her clothes are partially stripped from her, revealing her blue bra, as a officer kicked her in the stomach with his boot. Despite evidence of harsh treatment, any involved police officers have managed to escape retribution and the protester have been punishment instead.
“For example, the political activist Nafea was sentenced to life imprisonment yesterday, and she was dragged and left half naked, however no one was punished for any of that,” the statement added.
The organization describes the justice by being “selective,” explaining that the court considers all the articles under the law that undermine the rights of any political opponent’s case while at the same time they consider all the articles guaranteeing the acquittal of any defendants supporting the regime.
Moreover, the organizations emphasized that those trials unveiled the judiciary enmity which issued the severest penalties in some cases and wasted the least justice guarantees in others, and sentenced hundreds to death and life imprisonment.
The statement pointed that such a verdict is not unique, as few days ago around 183 defendants were sentenced to death in Beni Suef and Minya courts. As well as a mass life imprisonment on 492 people in Minya clashes and many other verdicts. All such questionable rulings could fire the political revenge and violence, whose disenfranchisement, the statement said, is the breeding grounds for radical extremism.
Judge Nagy Shehata has become well-known for doling out strict verdicts among political activists. He was the judge of the most recent mass death sentence case, which took place in December 2014 when he referred 188 defendants to the grand mufti for execution.
Additionally, the statement shed light on some legal violations that occurred during the trial, starting with the aggressive attitude of one of the judges against the defendants, ending with the court’s three-year imprisonment verdict against Douma because he condemned the court’s decision.
Moreover the statement said the court tried to indimidate lawyers working on the case, referring five of them to investigations with various charges because they insisted on completing the missing documents needed.
Douma had previously been sentenced to three years imprisonment and a fine of LE50,000 for his participation in a demonstration outside of Abdeen Court.