Egypt adjourns trial of activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah

CAIRO – An Egyptian court on Sunday adjourned to May 10 the trial of prominent activist and blogger Alaa Abdel-Fattah and 24 others on charges of violating Egypt's protest law to allow them to file for recusal, a judicial source said.

The source said the judge had adjourned the court proceedings after the defense team had asked to file for recusal.

Abdel-Fattah, a figurehead of the opposition against ousted presidents Hosni Mubarak and Mohamed Morsi, and the 24 other activists were referred to court on charges of assaulting policemen and staging an unlicensed protest.

The demonstration was staged in November to decry Egypt's longstanding practice of trying civilians before military courts and a new protest law.

A law makes it necessary for protest organizers to submit written notification to the Interior Ministry three days prior to staging demonstrations.

It also gives the ministry the right to deny them permission if the planned event was deemed a "threat to security or public safety" or if security conditions were deemed "inappropriate."

According to the law, violators will either be fined or imprisoned – penalties that have provoked outrage on the part of many Egyptian politicians and activists who say the legislation curbs freedoms and gives police free rein to crack down on popular expressions of dissent.

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