Egypt rights groups condemn conviction of activist

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CAIRO (AP) — A group of Egyptian human rights associations has condemned the conviction and sentencing of a prominent activist to 15 years in prison, saying it was unconstitutional and disregarded his right to a fair trial.

In a joint statement Thursday, the 16 groups said the verdict against Alaa Abdel-Fattah and 24 others "further downgrades the status of human rights in Egypt."

"The ruling yesterday is but another example of the government's continued disregard for the protection of constitutional guarantees of freedom of assembly and the right to a fair trial, as well as Egypt's international obligations."

A court convicted the 25 on Wednesday in absentia for organizing an illegal demonstration, using force against police and posing a threat to public safety.

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