Three leading figures of Egypt's 2011 uprising were jailed for three years each on Sunday for their role in recent protests, as the army-backed authorities intensified a crackdown on dissent.
Ahmed Maher, Ahmed Douma and Mohamed Adel are symbols of the protest movement that ignited the revolt against President Hosni Mubarak. Their sentences include prison labor and fines of 50,000 Egyptian pounds ($7,200) each.
As the verdict was read, the three chanted "Down, down with military rule!" from the cage where defendants stand in Egyptian courts. The session, held at a police facility on the outskirts of Cairo, was attended by several European diplomats.
The case stems from protests called in defiance of a law passed by the army-backed government in November that requires police permission for demonstrations. It was the first verdict handed down under the new law. The defendants faced charges of protesting without permission and assaulting police.
Already pressing a fierce crackdown against the Muslim Brotherhood movement of deposed President Mohamed Mursi, the authorities have arrested a number of secular activists in recent weeks for breaches of the new protest law.