AFP
Last updated: 17 December, 2013

Egypt to try 23 Islamists for unauthorised demonstration

An Egyptian court will try 23 Islamists under a newly passed law banning unauthorised demonstrations, a judicial source said Tuesday.

Supporters of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, ousted and arrested by the military in July, regularly hold demonstrations around the country calling for his return.

Egypt’s military-installed authorities have cracked down on the protests, and more than 1,000 people have been killed and thousands others arrested since mid-August.

The judicial source described the 23 accused as members of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, and said they had been detained ahead of their case.

The group was arrested in the Qaliubiya governorate north of Cairo, according to the source, who did not say when they had been detained.

They would go on trial Sunday on charges of “demonstrating without authorisation,” “disrupting traffic” and “disturbing public order,” the source added.

The protest law, passed on November 24, requires organisers to seek authorisation three days ahead of any planned demonstration. Requests can be denied if the protest is deemed a threat to national security.

Three activists who took part in the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime president Hosni Mubarak are currently on trial under the law, and another is awaiting trial on the same charges.

Activists say the ban is hypocritical as the army justified Morsi’s overthrow as a response to mass demonstrations across the country against his turbulent single year in power.