April 6 petition against protest law draws prominent signatories
April 6 Movement Flag - YOUM7 (Archive)
By HANAN FAYED

CAIRO: The petition launched by the April 6 Youth Movement against the protest law Saturday reached 405 signatures by Tuesday, with prominent figures signing the petition.

Head of Dostour Party Hala Shukrallah and leading member of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party Mohamed Ghonim, who was also a member of the constitution drafting committee, signed the petition, according to April 6’s spokesperson Ahmed Kamal.

The movement is in direct contact with more members of the constitution drafting committee to sign the petition, Kamal told The Cairo Post.

The petition calls for the revocation of the law, ratified by interim President Adly Mansour in November. The law stipulates a prerequisite permit from the police to hold a protest, among other curtailments. Hundreds have since been arrested on the charge of protesting without a permit.

Imprisoned April 6 founder Ahmed Maher and leading member Mohamed Adel are appealing a three-year prison sentence for illegal protesting. Additionally, prominent activist Alaa Abdel Fatah was released on bail on Sunday on grounds of illegal protesting.

“If it was not for the protest law, many protesters would [still] be detained for nothing,” Mokhtar Mounir, head of the Journalists Against Torture Monitor’s legal unit and a member of the Front to Defend Egypt’s Protesters told The Cairo Post on March 16.

“I am not against laws regulating protests, but the new protest law gags dissidents and is used as an alternative to the emergency law, and security forces use it to justify excessive use of force,” Mounir added.

Presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi also told The Cairo Post March 16 that if he becomes president, he will amend the 2013 protest law to “regulate” protest “not restrict it.”

The protest law contradicts the Egyptian constitution, approved publicly in January, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, according to April 6’s petition.

Most recently, an Egyptian court sentenced three university students to four years in prison with labor and a 100,000 EGP (U.S. $14,500) fine each on Monday, on charges of breaching the protest law and cutting off roads.

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