09 February, 2009

Mahalla families protest prison terms - threatened with arrest

Families of the "Mahalla 22" that were sentenced to 3-5 years in prison by a security court in December following protests in Mahalla el-Kubra on 6 and 7 April last year, demonstrated outside the High Court yesterday, el-Badeel reports. They were joined by activists from the "6 April youth" movement.

According to the report, police pushed one of the women to the ground in their attempts to prevent the protest. Several 6 April activists where detained for more than an hour in a microbus, while officers threatened to arrest the family members.

The families pleaded for a re-trial of their sons and husbands, who they say are suffering from maltreatment in the prison. The women also complain about humiliating searches during the short visits, that never last longer then 10 minutes.

While in general I've been sceptical about the 6 April movement, for various reasons, I think they deserve respect for being among the few that didn't forget about the victims of the unjust Mahalla trial - all poor families who were made scapegoats by the state after one of the largest popular protests against the regime in decades.

Pib above: Some of the accused during the trial in Tanta in October.

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