Non-oil imports decrease 21.2% between January and April: CAPMAS    Reuters Exclusive: Pompeo to urge stock exchanges globally to tighten rules for Chinese companies    Egypt's foreign minister slams Turkey for sending foreign fighters to Libya    Syrian air defences intercept missiles in Hama province: State media    Rising Egyptian star Mostafa Mohamed has offers from Spain, Belgium: France Football magazine    Egypt's Sisi says world needs solidarity to produce coronavirus vaccine    Art van adds a splash of colour to drab Gaza life amid the coronavirus    Trade Minister bans sugar imports for 3 months    Saudi SMEs grant $200m to 2,176 Egyptian projects: International Cooperation Minister    Adel Mahmoud Science Forum kicks off with focus on biosecurity    Egypt's govt denies rise in basic commodities' prices    South Korea seeks arrest of Samsung heir in succession probe    US Civil unrest leads to closing some coronavirus testing sites, intensifying fears of an outbreak    US prosecutors charge 3 more police officers over George Floyd killing    European stocks slightly lower ahead of ECB meeting, carmakers drag    Amazon negotiates to buy $2bn stake in India's telco Bharti Airtel: sources    Early Facebook staffers denounce CEO Mark Zuckerberg stance on Trump posts    TikTok takes issue of safety seriously for users    George Floyd had coronavirus, according to autopsy report    EU to use $2.7 billion fund to buy promising coronavirus vaccines    Google donates 21,000 food boxes for irregular workers through to Egyptian Food Bank    Libya's GNA says it regains control of capital Tripoli    Swiss soccer to restart earlier to help Basel    How to keep children entertained and relaxed during quarantine    Tennis: Interesting to see if Djokovic can regain momentum, says Evert    CAF draws timeline for resumed continental championships amid COVID-19    Al-Sisi, Czech counterpart discuss joint COVID-19 efforts    Tourism-dependent governorates report lowest COVID-19 numbers in Egypt: Zayed    Egyptian Football star Ahmed Fathy's wife, daughters infected with Coronavirus    Egypt's health minister calls on 'anyone who has respiratory symptoms or high fever" to head to nearest hospital    TSFE to develop, operate Bab Al-Azab historical area    Misusing the Nile    Egypt's right to water    Sudan urges UN Security Council to encourage GERD parties to refrain from 'unilateral measures'    Enjoy the online theatrical initiative "Laugh, Think, Know"    The joker - Obituary: Hassan Hosni (1931-2020)    Culture Ministry discusses preventative measures for resumed activities    Egyptian and Irish theatre challenge the coronavirus    Egypt's Zamalek close to signing Angola's Papel in summer    We Are One: Global film festival launches amid pandemic    Zamalek re-hang ‘Real Club of the Century' billboard after removing CAF logo    Armed Forces neutralise 19 militants in North Sinai operations    Farwell to 89-year old Egyptian actor Hassan Hosny    Ethiopia says it won't accept Egypt's ‘historic rights' to Nile water    Egypt removes 484 illegal constructions and encroachments on Nile    Salah did not pressure administration to include players on team: Ghazal    Sisi congratulates Egyptians on occasion of Eid Al-Fitr    Egypt's 12 MPs came into contact with coronavirus infected parliamentarian    







Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.





'Infantry soldier' released
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 29 - 12 - 2011

Political activist and blogger Alaa Abdel-Fattah heads straight back to Tahrir Square after being released from 56 days in custody, reports Rasha Sadek
"Alaa has been released," tweeted his sister Mona Seif on Sunday morning. Within minutes social networks were spreading the news that 30- year-old Alaa Abdel-Fattah, prominent blogger and activist, was free. He had been detained since 30 October on charges of attacking soldiers, stealing a military weapon, destroying military property, illegal assembly and inciting violence during the 9 October Maspero clashes between protesters and the military that claimed the lives of 26 Copts and one Muslim and left more than 300 injured.
Abdel-Fattah has been banned from travelling pending further investigation. No date for a trial has been set.
The young activist has participated in the revolution since 2 February, the day of the infamous Battle of the Camel. In a letter written in detention he said: "I've constantly been striving to be on the front line... I am Alaa Abdel-Fattah, an infantry soldier in the revolution."
As a civilian, Abdel-Fattah had refused to answer questions from the military prosecution. His detention caused uproar in Egypt and abroad. At home marches calling for his release and referral to a civil court were organised. The United Nations Commission on Human Rights called for his release. Amnesty International condemned his detention, and accused the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) of involvement in the Maspero killings.
Abdel-Fattah's internment became a focal point of protests against civilians being tried in military courts. Since the start of the 25 January Revolution 12,000 civilians have been referred to military tribunals.
Under pressure from protesters and rights groups -- his mother had begun a hunger strike -- the SCAF finally referred Abdel-Fattah to an Emergency State Security Court. His case was then passed to the prosecutor-general office, after which Judge Tharwat Hamad ordered his release pending further investigation into the Maspero clashes.
Still wearing prison clothes, Abdel-Fattah headed immediately to Tahrir Square following his release where he was received rapturously by protesters. "Nothing has changed, the military has to go," he told his supporters. "The real culprits who killed the people in Maspero are still at large. The revolution will succeed when the killers are held accountable and gas cylinders are sold for LE5."
The crowd responded by chanting "Down with military rule," as Abdel-Fattah held Khaled, the son born during Abdel-Fattah's detention. The activist's first child was named after Khaled Said, the Alexandrian who was beaten to death in the street in 2010 by policemen and whose murder triggered nationwide protests.
"SCAF is the counter-revolution and that's why it has to step down," Abdel-Fattah continued.
"It is not only Tahrir Square that tells the story of the revolution. It is the sum of the people's anger, manifested in their revolt against polluting factories in Damietta, the selling of a gas cylinder for LE50 instead of its subsidised price of LE5, in workers' protests demanding better living conditions. This is the real revolution."
Following the release of her son Abdel-Fattah's mother made a plea on behalf of those still being handed military sentences while Mona, his sister, urged that the hype surrounding his release not be allowed to obscure "the thousands of unknown prisoners still detained by the military".
Abdel-Fattah's high profile is in part a result of his family. His father, Ahmed Seif El-Islam, is a human rights lawyer who was arrested in 1983 by state security, tortured and imprisoned for five years. He is now director of the Hisham Mubarak Law Centre. His mother, Laila Sweif, is a Cairo University professor and well known political activist. His aunt, Ahdaf Sweif, is an internationally acclaimed novelist and political commentator. His younger sister, Mona, is a co-founder of the No to Military Trials campaign. His wife Manal is a political blogger and his father-in-law Bahieddin Hassan heads the Cairo Centre for Human Rights Studies.
In 2004 Abdel-Fattah and his wife began voicing their political opinions on the blog www.manalaa.net which a year later won a Reporters without Borders Award.
Abdel-Fattah's release followed the setting free of 27 Maspero defendants on 15 December pending further investigation. On Monday SCAF ordered the suspension of military sentences against 90 civilians.
This is not the first time Abdel-Fattah has faced imprisonment. In May 2006 he was detained for 45 days after participating in a peaceful protest calling for judicial independence. In 2008 he and his wife left for South Africa to begin a business. They returned to Egypt following the outbreak of the revolution.


Clic here to read the story from its source.