Egypt: Rights activist Abdel Fattah freed after 5 years

Alaa Abdel Fattah who is a known pro-democracy activist in Egypt has finally been freed from jail after serving a sentence of 5 years for inciting and participating in protests. The young blogger and software engineer was a known voice among the young generation of Egypt. He had led the uprising of 2011 against the rule of President Hosni Mubarak.

The release was confirmed by Fattah’s lawyer Khaled Ali who had posted about it on Facebook, “Thanks God, Alaa Abdel-Fattah at home”. Various pages of Facebook which were set up to support and forward of cause of release of Fattah were seen posting videos of him grinning, shaking and hugging his friends as he had walked out of an elevator in Cairo. The release does not mean that Fattah will have full freedom. His parole involves that he will have to sleep every night at a local police station for the next five years and he will be under complete police surveillance.

It was in November 2013 when Abdel Fattah was detained and was awarded a sentence of 5 years in prison in a trial which had lasted for over a year. His charges include organising of an illegal protest against various military trials and also attacking a police officer. The court did not consider the evidence which was shown which also included his telephone records which proved that he was not present at the protest.

Fattah comes from a family of political activists, writers and even lawyers. Abdel had also been convicted for his involvement in a peaceful protest which followed the military removal of President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013. It was after Morsi government had been toppled that military of Egypt has launched a heavy crackdown on the supporters of Morsi. Within a few weeks the crackdown of the government also began on other secular and liberal activists who were opposing a newly imposed law which had banned street protests without prior permission from the authorities.  

The new law also required various participants to ask the interior ministry for prior permission  for holding a rally three in advance. Prison terms and heavy fines were also stated for all the violators. Fattah was arrested during a protest which was against the trial of civilians by military, which were infamous for their harsh and cruel nature.

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