The Shura Council trial has been further postponed until 11 November, with the head judge demanding that all 25 detainees are to be held in custody until the upcoming trial.
All 22 detainees on the case were released on bail in August while Alaa Abdel Fattah, Hamada Al-Nubi and Wael Metwalli were kept in custody until their release in September on EGP 5,000 bail.
Abdel Fattah said at the time that his release was a “conspiracy”.
According to Amr Imam, a lawyer working on the case, the detention decision came with the aim of returning Abdel Fattah to prison again.
Freedom for the Brave, an initiative providing support for detainees, noted that defendants knew about the date of the trial through media reports.
The defendants were accused of violating the Protest law – issued by the then-interim president Adly Mansour in November 2013 – after protesting outside the Shura Council (the upper house of the parliament). They were accordingly sentenced in absentia to 15 years, handed an EGP 100,000 fine and put under surveillance for a period of five years.
Abdel Fattah has been arrested and imprisoned under every consecutive Egyptian government from Mubarak to Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and has already been imprisoned three times under the Al-Sisi government.
Shortly before Monday’s trial began, Abdel Fattah tweeted a picture of himself standing in front of the court building, writing: “Selfie at [the courthouse]. At 8:45 AM. And the geotag is a witness. So no one say that we are sentenced to prison in absentia.”
Abdel Fattah was previously charged in absentia in this case, although he says he was outside the courthouse and was prevented from entering by guards.
Abdel Fattah’s sister, Sanaa Seif, was imprisoned on charges of violating the Protest Law just a day before Abdel Fattah was sent back to prison for preventive detention.
Seif was sentenced to three years in prison stemming from a demonstration against the Protest Law which has been used to charge numerous prominent activists since its inception in November 2013.
Seif, who is currently on a hunger strike to protest the Protest Law, was charged and imprisoned along with 23 other defendants, including Yara Sallam, a prominent human rights advocate.