An Assiut judge released from detention on Sunday a 17 year-old student representing Egypt in the Intel science competition next week.
Abdallah Assem was arrested alongside a friend in the vicinity of Tahrir Square ten days ago. Originally from the Upper Egyptian governorate of Assiut, Assem was reportedly in Cairo to finalise his travel papers. He was scheduled to travel to the United States this week, where he is to represent Egypt in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair on 11 May.
The Assiut Prosecution ordered Assem’s detention for 15 days last Sunday, a decision which threatened to strip the student of his right to take part in the international science competition.
Fatma Serag, a lawyer from the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE), said Assem’s family insisted on challenging the prosecution’s decision to prevent their son from missing the fair. Assem was released on an EGP 5,000 bail. Serag said he would be allowed to travel unless the prosecution challenges the judge’s decision.
Serag said Assem and his friends were arrested for “jokingly” flashing the Rabaa sign. Waleed Awad, Assem’s friend, said they were arrested from a cafe near Tahrir Square. Awad claimed, in a Facebook post, that the two were arrested by Homeland Security.
Awad was released shortly afterwards. Assem was referred back to Assiut, where he was accused of purposefully vandalising a car that belongs to a police officer, AFTE reported.