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Implications for Rights and Freedoms

Ettehadiya Protest Case

Court / Presiding Judge

First Review: Heliopolis Misdemeanour Court
Second Review: Heliopolis Misdemeanour Appeal Court/Judge Ahmed Gamal Serry

Procedural History

On October 26, 2014, the court issued its verdict in the case. On December 28, 2014, the court issued its verdict upon second review in the case. On September 23, 2015, President Abdel-Fattah El Sisi issued a pardon for 100 prisoners, among them 22 of the Ettehadiya case detainees.


Twenty-three defendants, among them Yara Sallam and Sanaa Seif, were initially sentenced to three years in prison and LE10,000 fine. On appeal, the 23 defendants were sentenced to two years in prison and two years on probation.

Summary of Reasoning

This case dates back to June 21, 2013, when protesters and youth activists were marching to demand the amendment of the Protest Law and the release of all political prisoners arrested for violating it; police violently dispersed the protest.The prosecutor-general leveled the following charges against the defendants: partaking in an unauthorized protest, violating the provisions of the Protest Law, instigating unrest, the destruction of public and private property, the possession of weapons and explosives, resisting authorities, and assaulting security forces.

Anecdotal Notes

According to defense lawyers, the video and photographic evidence presented throughout the trial did not show the defendants doing any of the actions that they were accused of. Throughout the trial, the court also arbitrarily prevented the public from attending the hearing; the case was moved to the Police Academy, placing further constraints upon the ability of family members and entities to observe the proceedings. Both Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International condemned the sentences.

Legal & Judicial Implications

The questionable standard for evidence in this case raises questions on the fairness of the trial. Although the majority of defendants were ultimately pardoned in this case, a pardon is a band-aid solution to a deep-seated institutional need for legal and judicial reform.