Massara church case adjourned to 27 May

The Rod al-Farag Misdemeanors Court of Appeals on Sunday postponed to 27 May its examination of the appeal of a group of activists imprisoned for assaulting police in front of a Cairo church last year.

The defense asked for the case to be postponed to summon witnesses and to include the report filed at Rod al-Farag Police Station. The judge at the lower court previously denied the same requests.

Police arrested the eight activists last January when they were participating in a solidarity protest in front of a church in Massara, in the Cairo neighborhood of Shubra, to condemn an attack on the Two Saints Church in Alexandria. Police accused them of destroying several Central Security Forces trucks and assaulting conscripts.

Al-Masry Al-Youm employee Mostafa Mohie Eddin is among those indicted in the incident. The activists received sentences of two years in prison for rioting and assaulting policemen.

The activists say police arrested them while they were forming a human chain in front of the Virgin Mary Church in Massara.

The Two Saints Church bombing took place during Christmas celebrations in 2011 and left around 20 people dead.

The defense team is led by MP Zyad Elelaimy, lawyers Ahmed Saif al-Islam and Negad al-Boraie, and several lawyers from the Hisham Mubarak Law Center and the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information.

Dozens of youth from the Popular Alliance Party, the Youth for Justice and Freedom Movement, and the Revolutionary Socialists, as well as other independent activists, expressed solidarity with the activists on trial.

On Twitter, presidential hopeful Hamdeen Sabbahi said on Sunday, “I would like to express solidarity with the revolutionary youth who are standing trial today in the Massara Church case over charges that were pinned on them by the former regime. I wholeheartedly trust the Egyptian judiciary to exonerate them.”

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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