Last updated: 22 January, 2014

Egypt jails 3 for defacing memorial to protest dead

A Cairo court jailed three people for two years Wednesday for destroying a monument to those killed in mass protests that unseated two Egyptian presidents since 2011, judicial sources said.

The monument was built by the military-installed authorities in Cairo’s Tahrir Square — epicentre of the revolt that ousted long-time ruler Hosni Mubarak in early 2011.

In November, angry protesters broke part of the stone monument and splashed it with graffiti.

They were marking the second anniversary of deadly protests against the military junta that ruled Egypt after Mubarak stepped down until his successor, the eventually deposed Mohamed Morsi, was elected in June 2012.

Several days of clashes around Cairo’s Mohamed Mahmud Street in November 2011 were the first serious revolt faced by the junta since it took charge in February 2011.

The military handed power to Morsi after he won the country’s first free election, but ousted him a year later following mass demonstrations demanding his resignation.

That ushered in a sweeping crackdown on Morsi’s Islamist followers that has so far left more than 1,000 people killed and thousands more arrested.

After his ouster, Egypt’s government erected the monument to commemorate those killed in the protests against Mubarak and Morsi.

The protesters’ graffiti expressed anger at the interim authorities and at Morsi.

They accuse the authorities of revising the history of the Mohamed Mahmud carnage amid a wave of pro-military nationalism following Morsi’s overthrow.

Among those sentenced Wednesday was Sherif al-Sirfi, a member of an offshoot of the April 6 movement that was one of the main groups behind the anti-Mubarak uprising.

The authorities have also arrested and jailed several other prominent anti-Mubarak activists in recent months for organising unlicensed protests.