Socialist Worker

Jail sentences quashed for 47 activists in Egypt

by Charlie Kimber
Issue No. 2505

Striking Cambridge UCU members show their solidarity with Giulio Gegeni, murdered in Egypt

Striking Cambridge UCU members show their solidarity with Giulio Regeni, murdered in Egypt (Pic: Egypt Solidarity Initiative on Facebook)


In clear evidence that organised resistance and solidarity have an effect, 47 of the 101 Egyptian activists recently sentenced to five years in jail have had their custodial sentences quashed.

However, the appeal did not remove the very large fines imposed on them and they are likely to spend several months in jail because they cannot afford to pay.

The 47 affected are those unjustly sentenced in the Dokki and Agouza cases of people. They were protesting against the Western-backed Egyptian regime selling the Tiran and Sanafir islands to Saudi Arabia.

Those whose sentences have been lifted include revolutionary activist Mahmoud Ezzat.

It is impossible to know for sure the details of why the Egyptian regime makes particular moves to imprison someone or free them. The regime has splits and internal differences.

But it is certain that the spirited response of those jailed and their supporters has played a large part in this decision.

Outrage

The jailings were met by a wave of outrage in Egypt and expressions of international solidarity with the prisoners. A support statement in Britain won widespread backing from union leaders, campaigners, academics and MPs including shadow chancellor John McDonnell.

Now there needs to be more protests to free the other 54 sentenced to five years in jail, the 50 others sentenced to two years, and all of Egypt’s prisoners.The support statement and the rally on Friday (see below) are still very important.

The rally will demand justice for Giulio Regeni and for all the disappeared and prisoners in Egypt. Giulio was an Italian PhD student at Cambridge University, who was tortured and murdered while doing field research in Egypt,

Sign the statement at https://egyptsolidarityinitiative.org/haithamstatement/

Rally for Truth for Giulio and Justice for Egypt’s Disappeared, Friday 27 May, 5.30pm, Torrington Square (between Birkbeck and SOAS buildings), London WC1E 7JL (closest underground: Russell Square or Goodge Street). This rally and vigil is a collaboration between Amnesty UK and the University and College Union UCU, the School of Oriental and African Studies Unison branch, and Egypt Solidarity Initiative. Details at http://bit.ly/1sPMYIk 

 


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