Anger after Egyptian court jails leading Revolutionary Socialist Mahienour el-Massry
Wednesday 21st May 2014
A court in Alexandria has jailed leading Revolutionary Socialist Mahienour el-Massry for two years and fined her over £4,000.
She has now gone missing in the prison system.
Her family went to visit her this morning, Wednesday, at the women’s prison at Damanhour city in Beheira governate.
They were told that Mahienour was not there as there was a mistake in her papers.
Mahienour, a human rights lawyer, was sentenced in her absence in January. She was arrested again in April but freed pending an appeal this week, which lost.
Tahar Mukhtar, a Revolutionary Socialist in Alexandria, was at the court with Mahienour. He told Socialist Worker, “We expected the judge to step down – as he had in a previous hearing in this case – and the hearing to be postponed.
“But we were taken with Mahienour into a room and guards put on the door. Then Mahienour was taken into a cage in a new hall where there was a new judge.
“But he was the judge who had declared Mahienour guilty in January.”
Lawyers again argued that this judge should not hear the case. But Taher said, “The interior and court police took Mahienour out of the cage and dragged her away quickly.
“She didn’t have chance to speak.”
Mahienour can appeal but Taher said the judge who would hear it is an ex-police officer who has sentenced other protesters to two year sentences. Four other activists in this case still face jail.
Mahienour was charged with various offences after protesting outside a court in Alexandria last December. Police officers charged with murdering political blogger Khaled Said were being tried there.
Khaled’s brutal murder in June 2010 led to anger in the months leading up to the revolution that began in January 2011.
Egypt’s military regime has outlawed protests that take place without its permission.
As Khaled’s mother said, “The protest is against the police. How do you expect us to ask permission from the institution we are protesting against?”
The military regime took power last July after the fall of a Muslim Brotherhood president.
Since then over 1,000 mainly Brotherhood supporters have been killed, hundreds sentenced to death and tens of thousands imprisoned.
In recent months the military has focused on the left and leading revolutionaries.
Mahienour was defiant when she was first threatened with imprisonment.
She said, “The state keeps imagining that with its laws, prisons, and dogs it can protect itself. But even if you gather all of us in prison, the revolution will continue.”
Mahienour and the other detainees need urgent international solidarity.
The Egypt Solidarity campaign will be handing in petitions condemning the mass death sentences against opponents of the military regime, and the imprisonment of Mahienour and other activists at 4pm, Thursday 5 June at the Egyptian embassy in London.
Egyptian Solidarity workshop, 12 noon-5pm, 24 May, School of Oriental and African Studies, London. Admission free. Sign up to help plan the next steps in the solidarity campaign.
For more details go to egyptsolidarityinitiative.org