The next session in the trial of 24 protesters, accused of violating the Protest Law when they marched to Ettehadiya presidential palace earlier this month, was scheduled for September 13, amounting to three months imprisonment for 23 of the defendants while they await trial — one was released for health reasons.
The first session of the case commenced on Sunday, involving charges of vandalism and breaking the Protest Law passed last November, which mandates the obtaining of a permit from the Interior Ministry before demonstrations.
The march was organized against the controversial Protest Law and to demand freedom for hundreds of political detainees that have been arrested in recent months as a result of it.
Among the detainees are 20-year-old activist Sanaa Seif, award-winning human rights researcher Yara Sallam and five other girls.
The defendants’ lawyers were only informed Sunday morning that the session would be held at Tora Police Academy. Lawyers, families and supporters had headed to Heliopolis court in the morning, after state TV reported on Wednesday night that this is where the session would be held.
Due to the new location, families and supporters were not allowed in, resulting in a minor altercation between lawyers and police officers in the courtroom.
Public figures, including activist Samia Jaheen, novelist Sonallah Ibrahim, historian Khaled Fahmy and health activist Mona Mina, held a protest outside Heliopolis court in solidarity with the detainees, holding up their pictures.
The detainees chanted as they went into the cage, “It is our right to protest, no to your law,” and sang revolutionary songs.
Over 40 lawyers were present to represent the accused. After breaking for deliberation, the judge left without informing the lawyers of his decision, leaving the police guards to deliver it.