Egypt dismayed as 21 women are given 11-year prison sentences, far harsher than those of policemen accused of beating to death and assaulting protesters
They were handed down shortly after the interim military-backed regime made the highly symbolic decision to order the arrest of two of the liberal protest leaders most closely associated with the revolution against President Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
The women arrested last month in Alexandria were supporters of Mr Morsi and members of the “7am Club” which staged protests before school started. Images of the defendants, many of them teenage girls, sitting in the dock in white prison uniforms and hijabs were circulated on social media.
Their jail terms were compared to the seven years handed down to two Alexandria policemen accused of beating to death Khaled Said, a young businessman whose bloodied image and tribute Facebook page became the revolutionaries’ greatest rallying points in 2011. The policemen are currently bailed pending appeal.
Another police officer who was caught in the act of shooting protesters in the eyes with birdshot in late 2011 was sentenced to just three years.
The women were charged with being members of a terrorist organisation, blocking roads, and “fighting with knives and stones”. Six men were sentenced to 15 years for inciting them.
The sentences of the minors have to be reviewed. They will be transferred to adult prison on reaching the age of 18.