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Egypt's top appeals court upholds 3-year sentences against 3 prominent activists over protest

FILE - In this Nov. 30, 2013  file photo, a protester is detained near a Cairo court where supporters of the April 6 youth group gathered to condemn the detention of 24 activists arrested the previous week while taking part in a protest that was not authorized by authorities, in Cairo. Egypt.  A defense lawyer said Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015 that Egypt’s highest appeal court has upheld the convictions and three-year prison sentences handed down to Ahmed Maher, Ahmed Douma and Mohammed Adel, three of Egypt’s most prominent political activists for violating a draconian protest law.  (AP Photo/Ahmed Omar, File)

FILE - In this Nov. 30, 2013 file photo, a protester is detained near a Cairo court where supporters of the April 6 youth group gathered to condemn the detention of 24 activists arrested the previous week while taking part in a protest that was not authorized by authorities, in Cairo. Egypt. A defense lawyer said Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015 that Egypt’s highest appeal court has upheld the convictions and three-year prison sentences handed down to Ahmed Maher, Ahmed Douma and Mohammed Adel, three of Egypt’s most prominent political activists for violating a draconian protest law. (AP Photo/Ahmed Omar, File)  (The Associated Press)

A defense lawyer says Egypt's highest appeal court has upheld the convictions and three-year prison sentences handed down to three prominent activists for violating a draconian law on protests.

Tuesday's court decision leaves the three — Ahmed Maher, Ahmed Douma and Mohammed Adel — with no other legal options.

They have already spent just over a year in jail after they were arrested and charged with breaking a 2013 law criminalizing political gatherings of more than 10 people without prior permission and imposes tough penalties on violators.

Lawyer Tarek al-Awadi says the Cassation Court did not give a reason for turning down the appeal.

The protest law came under renewed criticism after the killing last weekend of a female protester when police moved in to disperse the small rally.