An Egyptian court on Wednesday sentenced in absentia prominent activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah to 15 years in jail on charges of participating in an illegal protest, his lawyer told AFP.
Twenty-four other activists were also sentenced, in absentia, to 15 years in jail each on the same charges.
Abdel-Fattah, a prominent youth leader of the 2011 uprising that toppled strongman Hosni Mubarak, was arrested in November in a crackdown waged by the military-installed authorities against Islamist and secular dissent since the army ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July.
In April an Egyptian appeals court upheld three-year prison sentences handed down to three prominent activists facing similar charges.
The three, including the founder of the April 6 movement, Ahmed Maher, rose to prominence in the 2011 uprising that toppled veteran strongman Hosni Mubarak.
The interim government, in place after the army overthrew Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July, jailed them for violating a law it had passed banning all but police-sanctioned protests.
Ahmed Maher, Mohamed Adel and Ahmed Douma were charged with organizing an unauthorized and violent protest in November, days after the passage of the law.
The initial sentencing in December of the activists, part of a broad coalition of groups that supported Morsi’s ouster, had raised concerns of a return to Mubarak-era practices under the new military-installed regime.
While newly minted Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, an ex-army chief who led the military coup that overthrew Morsi, has pledged an inclusive government and that there would be “no return” to Mubarak’s era, the latest harsh sentence came just three days after his inauguration.