Egypt soldiers get suspended sentence over protest

By the Associated Press | September 29, 2012 | 2:35 PM EDT

An Egyptian woman passes by a new mural inspired by a widely circulated photo of Egyptian police beating and stripping a veiled female protester, on a recently whitewashed wall in Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Sept. 28, 2012. The Arabic writing reads, "we will not forget you."(AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

CAIRO (AP) — Egypt's Defense Minister has ratified a court decision giving a suspended sentence to 21 soldiers found guilty of violating army protocol by joining protests last year against the country's top military generals.

The group, dubbed the "April 8 officers" since most appear to have been detained and prosecuted for joining an April 2011 protest, are expected to be released soon.

They were arrested in a military crackdown on thousands of protesters in Cairo's Tahrir square demanding the resignation of the generals who ran the country at the time. It was the first public defiance from within military ranks against the ruling generals, accused by protesters of mismanaging the democratic transition and aborting the revolution.

Five other soldiers are still detained, but military prosecutors said Saturday they are reviewing their cases.