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Appeal date set for Egypt female protesters

Lawyer says that court will hear appeal on December 7 from women protesters sentenced to 11 years in jail.

Last updated: 01 Dec 2013 04:27
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The women, described by a court as Muslim Brotherhood members, had been sentenced to 11 years in prison [AP]

A group of 14 women protesters will formally appeal against their 11-year jail sentences on December 7, their lawyer has said.

An appeal by seven girls, all under the age of 18 and part of the same case, will be heard by a separate court for juveniles on the same day, Ayman Dali told the AFP news agency.

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"Their appeals have been submitted and the appeals session has been set for December 7," Dali said.

On Wednesday, an Egyptian court in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria sentenced the women who it said were members of the Muslim Brotherhood movement to 11 years in jail.

The seven girls were sent by the court to a juvenile detention centre until they reach the age of 18.

The verdicts triggered an outcry from activists and rights groups, with some calling on Egypt's interim president Adly Mansour to pardon them.

Full pardon

On Friday, the government said that the convicted women would be pardoned after their cases were processed by the court.

"President Adly Mansour will issue a full pardon to the Alexandria females after the final judicial process is completed in accord to the constitution,” a presidential adviser said in a statement circulated to journalists on Friday.

The legal process will still go through the appeal and cessation court processes, the statement added.

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel expressed Washington's concern over the arrests in the context of a restrictive new protest law.

"Secretary Hagel noted that the Egyptian government's response to free expression will demonstrate the interim government's commitment to a non-violent, inclusive and sustainable democratic transition," the Pentagon said.

Hagel's comments came during a phone call with Egypt's military chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on a range of topics.

Knives and rocks

The prosecutor general's office charged that the women fought with knives and threw rocks during October 31 clashes in Alexandria between supporters and opponents of ousted president Mohamed Morsi.

Six men, said to be Brotherhood leaders, were also tried in absentia in the same case and sentenced to 15 years. They were found guilty of inciting the women to cut key roads in the city during the clashes.

Amnesty International severely criticised the verdicts against the female protesters.

It said the conviction and imprisonment of the "21 female protesters, including seven girls ... shows the Egyptian authorities' determination to punish dissent."

"These women and girls should have never been arrested," Amnesty International's deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui said in a statement.  

The appeal hearings will be held in Alexandria.

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Source:
AFP
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