This update is from Nazra for Feminist Studies (Egypt).

Update: Egypt – Prominent Woman Human Rights Defender (WHRD) and Lawyer Mahienour El-Massry appeal is Adjourned and to be Kept in Custody

El Raml Misdemeanor Court in Alexandria governorate adjourned today the session of WHRD and Lawyer Mahienour El-Massry along with 9 other activitsts to May 31st, 2015 while keeping them in custody. Ms. El-Massry and 3 other activitsts attended the concerned court session today, and they have been held today in custody after a long day at court, allowing only lawyers and defendants to attend the session.

Background   

On the 9th of February, 2015, El Raml Misdemeanor Court in Alexandria governorate  sentenced WHRD and Lawyer Mahienour El-Massry along with other 9 activists from Alexandria to two years in prison and bail amounting to 5000 EGP (655.37USD) in the Case No. 6868 for the year 2013, over charges that include: Attacking and causing injuries to the police officers of El Raml Police Station; Breaking into the police station; Destruction of some of its contents; Disabling work flow along with terrorizing and intimidating citizens” in March 2013. Ms. El-Massry and other activists are not detained, with the exception of Loay ElAhwagy, who is currently imprisoned in relation to the case of the Khaled Said murder retrial, whose incidents date back to December 2, 2013.

The incidents of this case date back to March 30, 2013, when members of the Muslim Brotherhood attacked an activist and took him to El Raml Police Station accusing him of attempting to burn one of the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters in Alexandria, where Ms. El-Massry, along with other lawyers were demanding that they attend the concerned investigation. At the time, the police declined their entry, and the situation at the time later developed into to a clash between the police officers and the lawyers that resulted in the assault of some of the lawyers by the police, who then attempted to conduct a sit-in in the police station itself, in protest to the aforementioned assault.

It is worth mentioning that Ms. Mahienour El-Massry was previously sentenced by the Sidi Gaber Misdemeanor Court to 2 years’ imprisonment and a fine of EGP 50000 (USD 6548.7) on May 20, 2014, on charges of participating in an unauthorized protest and attacking police officers during the Khaled Said murder retrial on 2 December 2013. This sentence was reduced to 6 months imprisonment by the Manshia Misdemeanor Appeal Court in Alexandria on July 20, 2014, where she was released in September 2014 from Damanhour Women’s Prison, after the court’s acceptance of a demur for her sentence, that was submitted by her lawyers.

Mahienour El-Massry is a prominent woman human rights defender and lawyer, who works in the governorate of Alexandria on Syrian and Palestinian refugee issues, labor and student rights. She also works on documenting and exposing human rights violations committed against women and human rights defenders, as well as being the coordinator and spokesperson of No to Military Trials against Civilians in Alexandria. Ms. El-Massry has been recently awarded in the Ludovic Trarieux Human Rights annual Prize for the year 2014, for her work in defending human rights.

Nazra for Feminist Studies is shocked and appalled at today’s court decision in keeping WHRD and Lawyer Mahienour El-Massry and others in custody until the next court session, especially that the case came about as a result of her practicing her profession as a lawyer, and fears that Ms. El-Massry is being targeted for her well-known and prominent human rights activism. It also urges the Egyptian authorities to acquit Ms. El-Massry and the other activists and have them released immediately.

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