Forty-seven young detainees have declared a full hunger strike in response to recent verdicts issued against them on charges of demonstrating against the maritime demarcation deal, according to a statement issued by the detainees which was published through several human rights organisations.
The detainees wish to convey to state authorities that the absence of justice and respect for the Constitution will lead to increased chaos. They declared the strike in a trial session to show their objection to their sentencing.
More than 100 young people were sentenced to prison on 14 April in remarkably quick trials, raising public doubts on the legitimacy of their trials and the process.
Dokki and Agouza Misdemeanour Courts sentenced 101 defendants, who were arrested in Cairo during anti-government demonstrations on 25 April, to five years in prison for illegal protesting, while 79 of them were also fined EGP 100,000.
After only 19 days and a final session that saw six hours of arguments between lawyers, the verdict was issued to follow an earlier verdict issued by the Qasr Al-Nil Misdemeanour Court which sentenced 51 similar defendants to two years in prison.
The 51 defendants who were sentenced to prison are comprised of three of the four groups of defendants, who have been tried separately according to the place and time they were arrested. One further group of 52 protesters is still pending trial.
Eleven human rights organisations based in Egypt called on the Interior Ministry to take full responsibility for the hunger strike. They also asked the National Council of Human Rights and the Doctors Syndicate to carry out urgent visits to the detainees in order to inspect conditions inside the prison and what measures the Interior Ministry has taken against the hunger strike.
The nationwide 25 April protests which objected to the maritime demarcation agreement that would see the transfer of sovereignty of Sanafir and Tiran islands to Saudi Arabia were met with a strong security response and were followed by the arbitrary arrest of bystanders without any investigation, according to numerous testimonies.