- A woman casts her vote on October 23, 2011 at a polling station in La Marsa, 20 kms from Tunis, in the country's first-ever free elections, with an Islamic party poised to win the most votes nine months after the toppling of a dictator that sparked the Arab Spring. Some 7.2 million people are eligible to elect a 217-member assembly that will rewrite the constitution and appoint a new caretaker government after decades of autocratic rule under Zine el Abidine Ben Ali, ousted in January in a surprise, popular revolt against poverty, unemployment and corruption. AFP PHOTO / LIONEL BONAVENTURE (Photo credit should read LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images)
- [Demonstrators stand with their mouths taped shut during a protest outside the Orange County district attorney's office in Santa Ana on Tuesday. Protestors gathered in support of 11 college students who were detained for allegedly disrupting a speech by Isreali Ambassador Michael Oren on February 8th at UC Irvine.] *** 
- A Tunisian flashes the sign of victory as she queues up outside a polling station in Tunis' Sukra neighbourhood before voting in the country's first post-revolution parliamentary election on October 26, 2014. Tunisians were voting in an election seen as pivotal to establishing democracy in the cradle of the Arab Spring uprisings, with security forces deploying heavily to avert extremist attacks. AFP PHOTO / FADEL SENNA
More trouble for Mursi
CAIRO: An Egyptian court on Saturday acquitted 17 people of violating a strict protest law earlier this year at a march commemorating a 2011 uprising, judicial sources said, a rare decision since Egypt introduced the statute in late 2013.
The demonstration in January caught the world’s attention after the death of 32-year-old protester Shaimaa Sabbagh was caught on video.
The public prosecutor has separately charged a police officer who allegedly fired birdshot to try to disperse the protest in connection with Sabbagh’s death.
Defense lawyer Sayed Abu El-Ila, who was photographed with Sabbagh dying in his arms, told Reuters this was the first acquittal since the protest law came into force in 2013.
The statute curtailed demonstrations, a regular feature of the turbulent years since the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak in 2011, and has landed many leaders of that initial uprising behind bars.
“I am not pleased by an acquittal at the expense of Shaimaa’s blood,” Abu El-Ila told reporters. “Shaimaa sacrificed her life to oppose an unjust law, and the law is still in place.”
A separate court on Saturday began a trial of Mursi and 25 others on charges of insulting the judiciary. The defendants include Brotherhood leaders as well as television host Tawfiq Okasha and liberals Alaa Abdel Fattah and Amr Hamzawy.
Mursi was sentenced to 20 years in prison last month on charges arising from the killing of protesters and faces the death penalty in connection with a mass jail break in 2011.
Separately, the public prosecutor referred 61 alleged Brotherhood members from the Delta province of Damietta to a military prosecutor on suspicion of violence-related offenses.