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Prosecutor orders Ahmed Maher’s release, renews Alaa Abdel Fattah’s detention

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Well-known activist to be held an additional 15 days pending investigation

Ahmed Maher (R), co-founder of the 6 April youth movement that spearheaded Mubarak's ousting, is greeted by supporters as he comes to hand himself in to prosecutors on November 30, 2013 in the Egyptian capital, Cairo after an arrest warrant was issued on charges of inciting demonstrations against the new protest law. Ahmed Maher was surrounded upon his arrival by dozens of supporters who chanted slogans demanding the release of other detained activists.  (AFP PHOTO/ STR)

Ahmed Maher (R), co-founder of the 6 April youth movement that spearheaded Mubarak’s ousting, is greeted by supporters as he comes to hand himself in to prosecutors on November 30, 2013 in Cairo after an arrest warrant was issued on charges of inciting demonstrations against the new protest law.  (AFP PHOTO/ STR)

6 April movement founder Ahmed Maher was ordered to be released from police custody on Sunday afternoon, while prominent activist and blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah’s detention was renewed for an additional 15 days.

Maher, Abdel Fattah and 24 other activists—who remain in custody—were arrested on charges stemming from a 26 November protest outside the Shura Council.  Charges against Abdel Fattah include rallying, “thuggery,” inciting violence, resisting authorities and violating the controversial new Protest Law.

Attorney Mahmoud Belal, a member of Abdel Fattah’s legal team, confirmed that the activist, arrested late Thursday night, would continue to be held pending an investigation by the prosecutor.

Maher, who formally surrendered himself to authorities yesterday, was ordered to be released by the Qasr Al-Nil prosecutor, said Mohamed Adel, 6 April member and lawyer with the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights.  Maher remained in jail at the time of publication.

“[6 April] does not accept Maher’s release,” said Adel.  “We need all 24 people and Alaa to be released, and we need the Protest Law to be struck down.  This is our demand, not Ahmed Maher’s release.”

Maher and Abdel Fattah’s arrests have been widely denounced as illegal by rights groups both domestically and abroad.  On Friday Amnesty International warned that Abdel Fattah is at an increased risk of being tortured by the authorities while detained, and the Arab Network for Human Rights Information called the arrests “aggression against the most basic rights of citizens.”

Abdel Fattah has often faced jail time in the past.  In 2006, he was arrested under Mubarak after demonstrating for an independent judiciary.  He was detained for two months in 2011 under the rule of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) for allegedly assaulting soldiers during the attacks carried out by army forces against a predominantly Coptic protest outside the Maspero building in October 2011.  And in March of this year he was arrested on charges of insulting Islam and former President Mohamed Morsi.

About the author

Aaron T. Rose

Aaron T. Rose is an American journalist in Cairo. Follow him on Twitter: @Aaron_T_Rose


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