Prominent Egyptian blogger back behind bars

Abdel Fattah, a major voice of Egypt's youth activists, had been bailed on charges of organising illegal protests.

    Prominent Egyptian blogger back behind bars
    Alaa and sister Sanaa are among thousands thrown in jail for defying a law barring unauthorised protests [AP]

    An Egyptian court has ordered prominent activist, Alaa Abdel Fattah, back to jail after he was previously freed on bail during a trial for taking part in an illegal protest.

    Activist Mona Seif, Alaa's sister, told the AFP news agency on Monday that Abdel Fattah had been taken into custody after a hearing in an ongoing trial for breaching a draconian anti-protest law. 

    All the country's youths are targeted.

    Leila Soueif, Abdel Fattah's mother

    The arrest of Abdel Fattah, 32, came a day after another sister, 20-year-old Sanaa Seif, who was tried alongside 22 others, was handed a three-year sentence in a separate case for breaking the same law.

    The legislation has drawn sharp criticism, both in Egypt and abroad.

    The bill, which stipulates that protests cannot be held without a government stamp, initially targeted backers of deposed former president, Mohamed Morsi, but it has since targeted secular and youth activists such as Abdel Fattah.

    The blogger was among a group who spearheaded an uprising against veteran leader Hosni Mubarak in 2011 and later backed the overthrow of Morsi.

    Abdel Fattah was convicted in June for organising an unauthorised demonstration in November 2013 and assaulting a police officer. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison, but was granted a retrial in August.

    He was freed on bail the following month. 

    Activist clan

    A crackdown on perceived government opponents has left at least 1,400 people dead and thousands in prison, most of them supporters of Morsi. 

    "All the country's youths are targeted," Abdel Fattah's mother, Leila Soueif, said after the hearing.

    US State Department spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, voiced concern for the fate of Abdel Fattah.

    "We urge Egypt's leadership to quickly complete its review of the demonstration law and to release an amended version that will enable full freedom of expression and association," Psaki told reporters.

    The siblings come from a family of prominent activists. Their father, the late Ahmed Seif al-Islam, was a longtime rights lawyer who was repeatedly imprisoned. Their sister Mona is also an activist.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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