Egypt's prominent April 6 Movement drops support for government transition plan after Sunday arrests
Ahmed Maher was one of the youth activists that was sentenced to three years in prison Sunday (File Archive/AFP)
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The April 6 Youth Movement announced Sunday that it will drop its support for Egypt's transitional roadmap, put into effect following the ouster 3 July of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, after three prominent activists were slammed with harsh jail sentences.
On Sunday, an Egyptian misdemeanour court sentenced April 6 leading figures Ahmed Maher, Mohamed Adel and revolutionary activist Ahmed Douma to three years in jail and a LE50,000 fine each on charges including organising illegal protests.
The defendants are accused of assaulting police officers during a demonstration outside a Cairo court where Maher was handing himself in for questioning over allegations he had organised an illegal protest.
“The roadmap included procedures that would provide transitional justice. However, the actions of the regime only reflect a justice of revenge against activists and icons of the revolution,” Amr Ali, general coordinator of April 6, said during a press conference Sunday.
Ali added that the roadmap is now useless due to the oppressive tactics adopted by interim authorities.
“We now announce the death of the roadmap … What is pursued by the current regime is a coup against the January 25 Revolution and its goals,” he added.
Egypt's transitional roadmap, issued by the army in agreement with a number of political forces after Morsi's removal, envisages an amended constitution (to be put to a referendum in a month) and parliamentary and presidential elections to follow by mid-2014.
The April 6 Youth Movement backed Morsi in the 2012 presidential race as he faced off with Mubarak-era premier Ahmed Shafiq. The group later joined protests against the Muslim Brotherhood, vigorously mobilising for Morsi’s ouster.
Ali added and the Way of the Revolution front, an anti-military and anti-Muslim Brotherhood bloc of which April 6 is a member, will organise a protest on Monday at 5pm at Opera Square in Downtown Cairo to denounce the continued detention of Maher, Adel and Douma.
“We are not against the transitional phase or the roadmap, but we are against oppression and deviations,” said Ali, underlining that his group will continue protesting until they put an end to the controversial protest law enacted recently.
Ali clarified that April 6 would not coordinate with members of the Muslim Brotherhood, who also oppose the post-3 July political roadmap.
The passing of the protest law on 24 November — nearly 10 days after a three-month state of emergency, in place since the ouster of Morsi, was lifted — has been viewed by rights activists as a tool for cracking down on public dissent.
Meanwhile, speaking to the press after the announcement of the verdict against the three activists, Mostafa Maher, brother of April 6 founder Ahmed Maher, accused the interim regime of following the path of past regimes by defaming "the revolution's revolutionaries and symbols" and fabricating facts, adding that it might face a fate similar to that of Mubarak soon.