More trouble for Mursi
An Egyptian court on Saturday acquitted 17 people of violating a strict protest law earlier this year at a march commemorating a 2011 uprising, judicial sources said, a rare decision since Egypt introduced the statute in late 2013.
The demonstration in January caught the world’s attention after the death of 32-year-old protester Shaimaa Sabbagh was caught on video.
The public prosecutor has separately charged a police officer who allegedly fired birdshot to try to disperse the protest in connection with Sabbagh’s death.
Defense lawyer Sayed Abu El-Ila, who was photographed with Sabbagh dying in his arms, told Reuters this was the first acquittal since the protest law came into force in 2013.
The statute curtailed demonstrations, a regular feature of the turbulent years since the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak in 2011, and has landed many leaders of that initial uprising behind bars.
“I am not pleased by an acquittal at the expense of Shaimaa’s blood,” Abu El-Ila told reporters. “Shaimaa sacrificed her life to oppose an unjust law, and the law is still in place.”
A separate court on Saturday began a trial of Mursi and 25 others on charges of insulting the judiciary. The defendants include Brotherhood leaders as well as television host Tawfiq Okasha and liberals Alaa Abdel Fattah and Amr Hamzawy.
Mursi was sentenced to 20 years in prison last month on charges arising from the killing of protesters and faces the death penalty in connection with a mass jail break in 2011.
Separately, the public prosecutor referred 61 alleged Brotherhood members from the Delta province of Damietta to a military prosecutor on suspicion of violence-related offenses.