Egypt orders detention of prominent activist over islands protest
An Egyptian court has ordered that a prominent human rights activist remain in custody pending trial on charges relating to a protest against the government's transfer of two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia, a rights lawyer said on Saturday.
Mahinour el-Masry, a rights lawyer herself and notable activist from the country's 2011 uprising, was one of two defendants who attended trial on Saturday, according to lawyer Taher Aboelnasr.
The court has ordered that they remain in custody until the trial resumes on December 30.
El-Masry and four other activists are on trial over charges of protesting illegally in June against the surrender of the Red Sea islands of Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi Arabia. Egypt's presidency has since ratified the controversial transfer of the islands.
After the islands agreement was first announced in 2016, Egypt saw the largest anti-government protests since President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi took office in 2014. Hundreds of demonstrators and activists were arrested, many of whom have since been released.
El-Masry was previously sentenced to 15 months in prison in 2015 for attacking a police station two years earlier.
In 2014, she was awarded the Ludovic Trarieux Human Rights Prize for her work as a "defender of human rights." At the time, she was serving a six-month sentence in a separate case in which she faced charges of illegally protesting in 2013 in solidarity with Khaled Said, whose brutal 2010 death while in state custody helped spark Egypt's 2011 uprising.