Middle East

Egyptian court upholds sentences on prominent activists

Ahmed Maher, Ahmed Douma (L) and Mohamed Adel (R) of the 6 April movement look on from behind bars in Abdeen court in Cairo, December 22, 2013. Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The activists protested against a law which restricted demonstrations

A judge in Cairo has upheld three-year jail terms imposed on three prominent Egyptian activists from the 2011 uprising that led to the fall of President Hosni Mubarak.

Ahmed Maher, Ahmed Douma and Mohamed Adel were jailed in December 2013 for organising an unauthorised protest.

They were arrested in November after protesting against a controversial new law that restricts demonstrations.

The case comes amid deepening concern about repression of dissent in Egypt.

The three well-known activists have long called for greater democracy in Egypt.

Mr Maher and Mr Adel were founding members of the 6 April Youth Movement, which was prominent in protests to remove long-time President Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

The three were among a group of demonstrators outside the upper house of parliament in late November protesting over a new law which states that public gatherings of more than 10 people must be authorised.

The military-installed government has defended the law, saying it is not intended to limit the right to demonstrate but rather to "protect the rights of protesters".

But its opponents say the law has in effect replaced a recently expired state of emergency, and is stricter than the measures in place during the rule of Hosni Mubarak.

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