Egypt court clears indigenous Nubians of protest charges

In this file photo, Egyptian security forces stand guard outside a court in Cairo, Egypt. (Reuters)
Updated 07 April 2019
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Egypt court clears indigenous Nubians of protest charges

  • The case involving 32 defendants dates back to September 2017 when dozens of Nubians held peaceful demonstrations in Aswan

CAIRO: An Egyptian court on Sunday cleared eight members of the indigenous Nubian minority of charges related to a protest staged nearly two years ago, a judicial official said.
The case involving 32 defendants dates back to September 2017 when dozens of Nubians held peaceful demonstrations in the southern city of Aswan demanding their right to return to ancestral lands.
Nubians are an ethnic group indigenous to northern Sudan and southern Egypt who trace their roots to an old civilization.
They were evicted in the 1960s after their shoreline was flooded with water from Lake Nasser following the construction of the Aswan High Dam.
The eight acquitted on Sunday were cleared of charges including inciting protests, blocking roads and disrupting public order, the judicial official told AFP.
Twenty-four other Nubians received conditional fines of 30,000-50,000 Egyptian pounds ($1,733-$2,890) which would only be enforced if the defendants commit future crimes.
Nubians have been calling for decades for their right to return to their historic villages along the Nile.
The ethnic minority’s incessant calls culminated in recognizing their right of return to their original lands in Egypt’s 2014 constitution for the first time.
Egypt has effectively banned protests under a law passed following the 2013 military ouster of former Islamist President Muhammad Mursi.
General-turned-president Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, who led Mursi’s ouster, came to power in 2014.
He secured a second four-year term in March 2018 with over 97 percent of the vote.
Under his rule, Egyptian authorities have launched a broad crackdown on dissidents jailing Mursi’s Islamist supporters as well as liberal, secular activists and popular bloggers.


Kosovan women returned from Syria face house arrest

Updated 24 April 2019
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Kosovan women returned from Syria face house arrest

  • Four alleged militants, all men, were arrested the moment they were brought to the country
  • The state prosecution said all 32 repatriated women are under investigation

PRISTINA: Kosovo prosecutors have requested the house arrest of 16 women repatriated from Syria, saying they are suspected of joining or taking part as foreign fighters there.

The women appeared on Wednesday in court in Pristina, a day after 10 other women were put under house arrest. None have been charged with a crime.

Four alleged militants, all men, were arrested the moment they were brought to the country.

The women and children were sent to the Foreign Detention Centre in the outskirts of Pristina but were freed to go home after 72 hours.

Ten women were seen entering Pristina Basic Court in a police escort on Tuesday. The court said in a statement later that they had been placed under house arrest on charges of joining foreign armed groups and terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq from 2014 to 2019.

The state prosecution said all 32 repatriated women are under investigation and more of them are expected to appear in front of judges on Wednesday. The prosecution has yet to file charges.

After the collapse of Islamic State’s self-declared caliphate in Syria and Iraq, countries around the world are wrestling with how to handle militants and their families seeking to return to their home countries.

Kosovo's population is nominally 90 percent Muslim, but the country is largely secular in outlook. More than 300 of its citizens travelled to Syria since 2012 and 70 men who fought alongside militant groups were killed.

Police said 30 Kosovan fighters, 49 women and eight children remain in the conflict zones. The government said it plans to bring back those who are still there.

International and local security agencies have previously warned of the risk posed by returning fighters. In 2015, Kosovo adopted a law making fighting in foreign conflicts punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

On Saturday, 110 Kosovar citizens — the four alleged foreign fighters, 32 women and 74 children — were returned to Kosovo with assistance from the United States, the first such move for a European country.

Authorities say there are still 87 Kosovar citizens in Syria.