Egyptian Officers and lawyers on Sunday released two activists and a journalist into pre-trial custody, officials and lawyers said, amid concerns by President Joe Biden’s administration over the arrest and harassment of critics of the government.
According to two judicial officials, state security prosecutors ordered the release of the three late Saturday night, with charges against them under investigation. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the media.
Esra Abdel-Fattah A pro-democracy activist and author walked free in the early hours of Sunday, her sister Shima wrote in a Facebook post. She was a co-founder of the 6 April Movement, which played a key role in the pro-democracy uprising of 2011, which overthrew the long-standing autocracy. hosni mubarak
Abdel-Fatah was arrested in October 2019 during a crackdown following small but rare anti-government protests in a town west of Cairo. Hundreds of people were arrested at the time, but many were later released.
According to his lawyers, he faces charges of spreading false news, being a member of a banned group and abusing social media, but is yet to stand trial despite lengthy custody.
Rights lawyer Nasser Amin said authorities also released journalist Jamal al-Gamal. Al-Gamal is widely known for his columns criticizing the government of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Amin posted a photo on Facebook in which he is seen sitting with al-Gamaal at home after his release.
Security forces arrested al-Gamal upon arrival at Cairo International Airport in February Turkey where he was residing since 2017.
Al-Gamal was accused of spreading false news, joining a terrorist organization and inciting public opinion against state institutions.
His brother Abdel-Mawla Ismail said the authorities also released Abdel-Nasir Ismail, deputy head of the Socialist People’s Alliance party, after nearly two years in pre-trial custody.
Ismail was arrested in the September 2019 action. He was accused of spreading false news and joining a terrorist organization.
The release came after an uproar by rights advocates when prosecutors last week referred Hossam Bahgat, a prominent Egyptian investigative journalist and human rights advocate, for trial. Bahgat said he was charged with insulting Egypt’s election authority, spreading false news alleging election fraud and using social media to commit crimes.
According to the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, or EIPR, Bahgat accused the chairman of the election authority in a tweet last year for allegedly misrepresenting last year’s parliamentary vote, according to the organization founded 18 years ago .
US State Department spokesman Ned Price condemned Bahgat’s indictment and the detention and harassment of Egyptian civil society leaders, academics and journalists under el-Sisi.
“We have conveyed to the Egyptian government our strong belief that individuals like Hossam Bahgat should not be targeted for peacefully expressing their views,” Price said last week. “As a strategic partner, we have raised these concerns with the Egyptian government, and we will continue to do so.”
The Egyptian government has cracked down on dissent in recent years on a massive scale, imprisoning thousands of people, mainly Islamist, but also secular activists involved in the 2011 Arab Spring uprising to depose long-time autocrat Hosni Mubarak. dropped it.
Journalists have also been targeted, dozens have been imprisoned and some foreign journalists have been expelled. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, Egypt is one of the world’s top jailers of journalists, along with Turkey and China.