Egypt jails Brotherhood women, orders activist arrests

Egyptian authorities today jailed 14 women said to be Muslim Brotherhood members for 11 years, and ordered the arrest of two leading activists for demonstrating against a disputed protest law.

AFP| Last Updated: Nov 28, 2013, 14:11 PM IST

Cairo: Egyptian authorities today jailed 14 women said to be Muslim Brotherhood members for 11 years, and ordered the arrest of two leading activists for demonstrating against a disputed protest law.

A court in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria sentenced the 14 women who it said were from the Brotherhood after convicting them of belonging to a "terrorist organisation," judicial sources said.

It also sentenced six men, said to be Brotherhood leaders, to 15 years, the sources said, adding the convicted women were immediately transferred to prison.

The men, tried in absentia, were found guilty of inciting the women to block key roads in the city during clashes between supporters and opponents of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi on October 31.

Seven girls in the same group on trial were sent to a juvenile detention centre until they reach the age of 18, state media said.

Their sentencing is the latest in an ongoing government crackdown against Morsi`s supporters since the army toppled him on July 3.

More than 1,000 people have been killed in the crackdown and during clashes between pro- and anti-Morsi groups, while thousands have been arrested, mostly Islamists, in the often deadly crackdown.

Yesterday, the authorities appeared to widen their campaign when police crushed protests by secular and pro-democracy groups against a law passed at the weekend regulating demonstrations.

The law requires protest organisers to give at least three days` written notice before holding demonstrations.

Police used water cannon and tear gas to disperse yesterday`s demonstrations.

The suppression of mainly secular youths is seen as the opening of a new front by the authorities, which justified Morsi`s ouster by saying it was responding to massive demonstrations against his rule.
Yesterday`s clampdown triggered a stand-off between authorities and some prominent activists who led the revolt against long-time ruler Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
Tempers flared today when the general prosecutor ordered the arrest of Ahmed Maher, founder of the April 6 movement that spearheaded the 2011 revolt against Mubarak, and Alaa Abdel Fattah, a prominent activist.

"The two are accused of inciting protesters to hold demonstrations that broke the protest law," the prosecution said, according to state news agency MENA.
The report added that 24 other protesters who joined the demonstration had been ordered detained for four days.