The State Security Court sentenced 99 defendants, 71 of whom were sentenced in absentia, to one year in prison on Wednesday over charges of illegal protest in front of the Mokattam police station, after the alleged death of their relative Mohamed Abdel Hakim, known as Afroto, inside the police station.
The defendants were arrested in January over accusations of attempting to storm a police station and set police cars on fire.
On 9 January, two policemen held preemptively accountable in the case—the assistant to the director of the investigation bureau in the police station and a lower ranking police officer— faced charges of assaulting Afroto, injuring him, and possibly leading to his death.
Hours after the incident took place, several pro-state newspapers reported that he died due to a drug overdose, citing security officials who denied that he was assaulted. A report by the Forensic Medicine Authority said that he was beaten and had signs of torture on his body.
After the news was reported, dozens of civilians, his friends, and family, gathered around the police station to protest his killing, claiming he was murdered. Forty-three of them were arrested and faced charges of attempting to break into the police station and setting police cars on fire.
The Protest Law was issued in 2013 by the interim President Adly Mansour to regulate the right to public meetings, processions, and peaceful demonstrations.