Egypt prosecutor orders trial for leading activists

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 05, 2013 9:17 AM
Egypt prosecutor orders trial for leading activists

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt's public prosecutor ordered a group of political activists to stand trial on Wednesday on charges they incited violence near the Muslim Brotherhood's headquarters in March, a case that has hardened rights activists' fears of a crackdown.

Judicial sources said the activists numbered at least 10 and included Alaa Abd El Fattah, a blogger who played a leading role in the protests that led to the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

Several hundred people were injured in March in the violence near the headquarters of President Mohamed Mursi's Islamist movement. Also among the activists referred to trial on Wednesday was Ahmed Douma, who was sentenced to six months in jail on Monday for calling Mursi a criminal.

Abd El Fattah and Douma were among five activists ordered arrested in late March when the prosecutor began investigating the violence.

Those arrest warrants drew a statement of concern from the United States, which supplies Egypt with $1.3 billion in military aid each year.

It follows sharp U.S. criticism on Tuesday of an Egyptian court's decision to convict 43 democracy workers, among them 16 Americans, in a case against international non-governmental organizations.

(Writing by Tom Perry; Editing by Angus MacSwan)