Egyptian activist's trial suspended

Alaa Abdel Fattah, accused of breaching anti-protest law, raised a complaint about the presiding judge.

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    Egyptian activist's trial suspended
    Egypt's military-installed government has cracked down on those who played key roles in the 2011 uprising [AP]

    Alaa Abdel Fattah, an opposition icon who helped stir the Egyptian uprising against Hosni Mubarak, has had his trial on breaching an anti-protest law suspended.

    Cairo's criminal court on Saturday said it would look into the defence’s request for the presiding judge to recuse himself from the case, the state-run Ahram newspaper reported.

    "[The judge] was included in a blacklist of judges accused of contributing to the rigging of the 2005 and 2010 elections," lawyer and political activist Malek Adly told Al Jazeera. He added that Abdel Fattah had assisted in compiling the list.

    His trial comes weeks before a presidential election seen by him and his comrades as a "farce" to legitimise the return of the pre-2011 police state.

    Abdel Fattah, who allegedly organised unauthorised protests last November against military tribunals of civilians, was imprisoned for nearly four months before being released on bail in late March.

    The secular left-wing activist was arrested under Mubarak and again under the military council he ceded power to, as well as tried when Mohamed Morsi was in office.


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    His latest prosecution comes amid a wider crackdown on dissent. The military-installed government has been primarily targeting Morsi supporters, but has also clamped down on those who played a key role in mobilising for the 2011 revolution, calling it essential to restore stability in Egypt.

    In his first interview after being released on bail, Abdel Fattah told Democracy Now that his arrest "is not just about me. It's almost as if it's a war on a whole generation".

    He and other dissidents joined calls to unseat Morsi last July, but have also criticised leading presidential candidate Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, for overseeing the return of Mubarak-era practices while army chief.

    Other liberal opposition figures arrested by authorities late last year include Ahmed Maher and Mohamed Adel, the co-founders of the April 6 youth movement, and activist Ahmed Douma.

    The three activists received a three-year sentence early last month, followed by a court-ordered ban on the activities of the April 6 movement.

    Youth turnout was poor in the January referendum on the constitution. According to Adly, a youth boycott of this month's presidential election is "inevitable."

    "It's a farce and we know it. We also know the votes are already rigged and the results are known," he said. "We're heading towards dark days."

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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