Four days before Egypt's presidential election, security forces stormed the offices of a rights group in the coastal city of Alexandria on Thursday and arrested at least eight activists.
The raid on the Egyptian Center for Social and Economic Rights came after a protest meant to express solidarity with jailed activist Mahienour Masry. The state newspaper Ahram said her lawyer, Mohamed Ramadan, was assaulted and briefly detained and that authorities confiscated papers relating to the case.
A demonstration soon afterward was broken up by police, the report said.
Masry was one of nine activists who had a three-year prison sentence upheld and a fine of more than $7,200 levied for violating a tough protest law passed last year.
Rights organizations denounced the sentences, calling for the reversal of their convictions along with those of other activists.
Also on Thursday, a Cairo court adjourned the case of three journalists working for Al Jazeera English who have been jailed for nearly five months on terrorism-related charges. Two have foreign passports.
Egyptian Canadian producer Mohamed Fahmy, Egyptian producer Baher Mohamed and Australian reporter Peter Greste are among 20 charged with conspiring with the Muslim Brotherhood -- the movement of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi -- as well as falsifying news to depict Egypt's political unrest as a state of civil war.
Human rights groups and media advocacy organizations have denounced the charges as politically motivated, and the journalists and their employer deny any wrongdoing.