TEHRAN (FNA)- The United Nations demanded the release of three leading anti-Mubarak activists jailed for organizing protests against Egypt’s interim government.
In a Tuesday statement, Ravina Shamdasani, spokeswoman for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, called for the “immediate and unconditional release of all prisoners detained solely in connection with peaceful protests…”
“Participation in peaceful protests and criticizing the government should not be grounds for detention or prosecution,” she added, press tv reported.
On Sunday, Ahmed Maher, Ahmed Douma and Mohamed Adel were sentenced to three years in prison as part of a crackdown on critics of the interim government. The three were also ordered to pay a fine of 50,000 Egyptian pounds ($7,100 or 5,200 Euros) each.
The activists were arrested in November after taking part in a protest against a new law that restricts demonstrations.
They are key members of the April 6 Youth Movement that spearheaded the 2011 uprising against Egypt’s long-time dictator Hosni Mubarak, which led to his ouster.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has also criticized the convictions, saying they were “contrary to the spirit of Egypt’s revolution nearly three years ago.”
The activists are the first to be jailed under the new law enacted last month by the military-installed government, which states that public gatherings of more than 10 people require police authorization.
Tensions continue to run high in Egypt, which plunged into deadly unrest since the country’s first democratically-elected president, Mohamed Mursi, was ousted by the army in early July.
The military also dissolved the parliament, suspended the constitution, and appointed the head of the Supreme Constitutional Court, Adly Mahmoud Mansour, as the country’s interim president.
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