Egyptian court clears Nubian activists over 2017 protest charges

Egyptian court clears Nubian activists over 2017 protest charges
Eight members of Egypt's Nubian minority group have been cleared of charges in relation to protests that took place in 2017 in the southern city of Aswan.
2 min read
07 April, 2019
Nubians have for decades demanded a return to their historic villages along the Nile [Getty]
An Egyptian court on Sunday cleared eight members of the indigenous Nubian minority of charges related to a protest staged nearly two years ago, a judicial official said.

The case involving 32 defendants dates back to September 2017, when dozens of Nubians held peaceful demonstrations in the southern city of Aswan demanding their right to return to ancestral lands.
Nubians are an ethnic group indigenous to northern Sudan and southern Egypt who trace their roots to an old civilization. They were evicted in the 1960s after their shoreline was flooded with water from Lake Nasser following the construction of the Aswan High Dam.

The eight acquitted on Sunday were cleared of charges including inciting protests, blocking roads and disrupting public order, the judicial official told AFP.

Twenty-four other Nubians received conditional fines of 30,000-50,000 Egyptian pounds ($1,733-$2,890) which would only be enforced if the defendants commit future crimes.

Nubians have been calling for decades for their right to return to their historic villages along the Nile.

The ethnic minority's incessant calls culminated in recognising their right of return to their original lands in Egypt’s 2014 constitution for the first time.

Egypt has effectively banned protests under a law passed following the 2013 overthrow of Mohamad Morsi, the country's first democratically-elected president.

General-turned-president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who led Morsi's ouster, came to power in 2014. He secured a second four-year term in March 2018 with over 97 percent of the vote.

Under his rule, Egyptian authorities have launched a broad crackdown on dissidents jailing Morsi’s Islamist supporters as well as liberal, secular activists and popular bloggers.