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100 Days in Prison without Trial: The Story of Alaa Abd El Fattah

Written by Amira Al Hussaini On 5 March 2014 @ 22:56 pm | No Comments

In Arabic, Citizen Media, Digital Activism, Egypt, English, Feature, Freedom of Speech, Law, Middle East & North Africa, Protest, Video, Weblog

Prominent Egyptian blogger Alaa Abd El Fattah completed his 100th day in prison without trial today. Abd El Fattah was violently beaten and arrested from his Cairo home on November 26, 2013 and accused of “organising a ‘No to Military Trial for Civilians’ protest” two days prior to his arrest.

According to Rasha Abdulla, Advox author [1] and a friend of Abd El Fattah:

He has been detained since November 28, after being accused of organizing a protest in front of The Shura Council (the upper house of Egypt's Parliament) without obtaining legal permission. Two days prior to the protest, legislators passed a law requiring all protest organizers to submit logistical information about planned protests to the Ministry of the Interior.

[...]

The protest in question was organized by the No to Military Trials for Civilians group, a campaign initiated by Mona Seif but of which her brother Alaa is not a member. The group has issued a press statement claiming responsibility for the organization of the protest. Members of the group have also filed a report with the public prosecutor claiming responsibility for the event. The protest, which took place on November 26, called for the abolishing of military trials for civilians in the new constitution which Egypt is to vote on later this month [January].

The protest was violently dispersed by the police roughly half an hour after it began. Police detained 11 women, most of them members of the No to Military Trials group, and 24 men. The women, all of whom were beaten and some of whom were sexually harassed while being detained, remained in custody for a few hours. They were then forced to ride a police car and thrown in the desert sometime after midnight. The men were detained for a week and are now released (except for one, Ahmed Abdel Rahman) pending investigation. Alaa was detained after police stormed his house two days later and accused him of organizing the protest. This allegation came despite the fact that Alaa waited outside the police station where his sister was detained on November 26 all evening until she was picked up by friends after police threw her and her colleagues in the desert. Although both Alaa and Ahmed Abdel Rahman have been detained for over a month pending investigation, no court date has been assigned yet for the case.

The situation remains the same today. A court date is yet to be assigned – 100 days after his arrest. Tahrir Diaries posted this video on YouTube to make the 100th day anniversary of Abd El Fattah's arrest.

It features Manal Hassan, describing what happened to her husband Abd El Fattah, and No to Military Trials member Nazly Hassan, who outlines the ordeal of Ahmed Abdul Rahman, a passer-by who politely asked police at the protest why they were beating and sexually harassing women participants.

The feature image with this post shows “Freedom for Alaa Abd El Fattah” written on the ground outside the Military Prosecution building in Cairo. Photo was taken by Nazly Hussein and posted on Twitter.

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URL to article: http://globalvoicesonline.org/2014/03/05/a-100-days-in-prison-without-trial-the-story-of-alaa-abd-el-fattah/

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[1] Advox author: http://advocacy.globalvoicesonline.org/2014/01/10/award-winning-egyptian-activists-receive-one-year-suspended-sentence/

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