Egypt puts 237 activists on trial for anti-government protests

Egypt put on trial 237 activists arrested for protesting against President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, judicial sources said on Saturday, the first court cases after demonstrations in April.

Thousands angered by Sisi's decision to hand over two islands to Saudi Arabia called on April 15 for his government to fall in the largest demonstration since the former army general took office in 2014. Security forces dispersed further protests on April 25.

Security forces arrested at least 382 people, Human Rights Watch said in a report this week.

The 237 appeared in four courts in Cairo and Giza charged with demonstrating without permits, the sources said. The sessions were adjourned. They face jail terms of up to three years if convicted.

Sisi faces criticism for a government accord, signed on April 8, placing the uninhabited Red Sea islands of Tiran and Sanafir in Saudi waters.

Saudi and Egyptian officials say the islands belong to the kingdom and were only under Egyptian control because Riyadh had asked Cairo in 1950 to protect them.

There are no signs that Sisi's rule is under immediate threat.

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