Egypt Appeals Court Frees Pro-Morsi Protest Girls
Cairo- A court in Egypt has ordered the release of seven girls who were jailed last month over a protest in support of ousted President Mohammed Morsi. The appeals court also reduced 11-year sentences given to 14 women in the group to a suspended year-long term. They were found guilty of multiple charges, including belonging to a terrorist group, obstructing traffic, sabotage and using force at a protest in the city of Alexandria last month.
Rights groups criticised the verdict. One campaigner described it as madness. The 14 women appeared inside the special cage in the Alexandria courtroom dressed in prison-issue white and holding red roses. They had written the word “freedom” on their palms. There was a heavy police presence outside the court complex.
The women and girls had taken part in an early morning demonstration in support of Mr Morsi. Relatives say it was the first protest by the group – called the 7am Movement – and that it was peaceful. One family told the BBC their 15-year-old daughter was only passing by on her way to school.
The women had expected to be sentenced to a month in jail at most at their trial last month. Their jail terms were longer than some for police convicted of killing or seriously injuring civilians. Hundreds of people have also been killed in clashes since July when Mr Morsi’s removal sparked widespread protests. (BBC)