When the Egyptian regime wants it, it’s very fast. Ten minutes were enough for a Cairo court to close the trials against 152 people under investigation for having violated the anti-terrorism law.
Egypt held a mass trial against those who protested the transfer of the Tiran and Sanafir Islands to Saudi Arabia. Out of the 1,277 people arrested between April 15 and 25, often preventively, 152 were sentenced to prison on Sunday: 51 to two years, 101 to five. Everybody must pay a fine of about €10,000.
Human rights organizations quickly expressed doubts. The National Council for Human Rights (NCHR), a state owned agency, said the verdicts came out too fast for a just trial. “A single judge was assigned to the cases related to the protests in Dokki and Agouza,” explains Ragla Omran of NCHR. “He didn’t even have the time to check the evidences and the defenses. Fifty attorneys spoke in front of the court for six hours and submitted more than 60 documents, but the judge decided in just 10 minutes. I don’t think he was able to absorb all the information. It’s humanly impossible.” In a few words, adds Omran, the impression was that the “decision had already been taken.”