Egypt youth leader from 2011 uprising to stand trial

Soldiers stand guard on the fifth anniversary of the uprising that ended the 30-year reign of Hosni Mubarak, in Alexandria, Egypt, January 25, 2016.
PHOTO: Reuters

CAIRO - Egyptian youth leader Amr Ali whose now banned April 6 movement spearheaded the 2011 revolt that toppled Hosni Mubarak is to stand trial Wednesday for incitement, a judicial official said.

The public prosecutor decided on Tuesday to refer Ali, the general coordinator of the movement who was arrested last September, to a criminal court, the judicial official said.

He is accused of inciting a general strike and possessing leaflets, the official added.

Ali is in custody, and three other defendants, currently free on bail, will be tried alongside him.

Ali's lawyer, Anas Sayyed, confirmed that the trial will proceed on Wednesday, and told AFP that the maximum penalty he faces is three years in jail.

In April 2014, an Egyptian court banned the April 6 youth movement, based on a complaint that accused it of defaming the country and colluding with foreign parties.

Its leader Ahmed Maher was sentenced to three years in prison in December 2013 for violating a law banning all but police-sanctioned protests.

And last December, authorities arrested four other April 6 movement leaders.

Sherif Arubi, Mohamed Nabil, Ayman Abdel Megid and Mahmud Hesham were arrested at their homes on December 28, less than a month before the fifth anniversary of the revolution.

April 6 led the January 25, 2011 uprising that ended the autocratic rule of president Mubarak.

It also opposed his successor, Islamist president Mohamed Morsi who was toppled by then army chief and now President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

The group then turned on the military-installed regime when authorities cracked down on dissidents.

Since the army toppled Morsi in July 2013, the authorities have cracked down on all opposition.

They adopted a new law in November 2013 outlawing demonstrations that have not been given advance authorisation by the police.

Hundreds of Islamist protesters - as well as dozens of secular and leftwing demonstrators - have been jailed under the legislation.

On Monday, Egyptians marked the fifth anniversary of the revolution amid tight security and a warning from the regime that demonstrations will not be tolerated.

Critics have accused Sisi of restoring Mubarak's autocratic rule and betraying the hopes of those who took part in the uprising.

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