Egypt Courts Free Jailed Female Protesters

Saturday, 07 Dec 2013 07:00 AM

By Newsmax Wires

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CAIRO —  An Egypt appeals courts Saturday ordered 14 women jailed after a protest to be freed, reducing 11-year prison terms to one-year suspended sentences, as seven girls were also ordered released.

The women's supporters in the Alexandria courtroom chanted "God is great" as the judge pronounced the ruling.
 
The girls, who had initially been sentenced to juvenile detention, were ordered freed by a separate court but placed on three-month probation.
 
The 21 were all convicted last month of taking part in a violent protest demanding Islamist president Mohammed Morsi's reinstatement following his overthrow by the army in July. Their long sentences had shocked  even supporters of the military-installed government.

In the adult court, the 14 women were ushered into the defendants' cage dressed in prison issue white and holding red roses.

They had scrawled the word "freedom" in black marker on their palms.

The appeal hearing for the minors was being held in an adjacent courtroom.

They were convicted of taking part in a violent protest demanding Islamist president Morsi's reinstatement following his overthrow by the army in July.

There was a heavy police presence outside the court complex in the coastal city of Alexandria, where Morsi's Islamist supporters have clashed repeatedly with opponents and security forces.

The women's lawyer, Ahmed al-Hamrawy, told Agence France Presse he expected the courts to either acquit them or release them on bail ahead of a final ruling.

The jail sentences, coming in the same week as a restrictive new protest law, re-energized the Islamist opposition to the interim government and drew criticism even from its secular supporters.

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