The first hearing of the case on appeal of the 32 workers of the Torah cement plant was set on July 18. They were sentenced in first instance to three years of imprisonment a few days after their arrest.
They were imprisoned in a peaceful garrison, after 55 days of protest. They were demanding the right to be employed on permanent contracts with full guarantees; these rights had been set by a judgment more than a year ago. In the meantime, the workers remain in jail, while dozens of political parties, trade unions and organizations denounce their physical mistreatment and humiliation since the arrest. Unfortunately, the Torah case is only the latest in a series of egregious incidents of repression against workers’ struggles.
Twenty-six workers from the Navy shipyards in Alexandria have been on trial for more than a year in a military court because of a strike. Many of them were forced to resign under blackmail, and 1,000 other employees (out of the 2,300 employees of the shipyards) were forcibly excluded from work. In September, a transit strike was nipped in the bud by a number of preventive arrests. Six union leaders were kidnapped at dawn in their homes, were disappeared for a few days and finally were convicted in court. Two of them were released of prison in March after seven months, and are now under house arrest. Furthermore, in February, repression stopped a strike of 3,000 people in Mahalla al-Kubra (a huge hub of the textile industry in the Nile Delta) that threatened to spread to all the 17,000 workers of the area.