Egypt frees rights activist after 5 years in prison

Egypt frees rights activist after 5 years in prison

Cairo: An Egyptian activist who rose to prominence during the 2011 uprising against former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, has been released from prison after serving a five-year sentence for organising an illegal protest, his family said on Friday.

Alaa Abdel Fattah was arrested in 2013 for campaigning against the generals that ruled the country after Mubarak’s resignation.

His sisters, Mona and Sanaa Seif, posted messages on Facebook on Friday stating: “Alaa is out”. The blogger and software engineer was once described by the authorities as “the icon of the revolution”.

Sharing a picture of Abdel Fattah playing with his dog at home, they thanked everyone who “followed and supported” them during his jail term, the BBC reported.

A video shared by the “Free Alaa” Facebook page showed Abdel Fattah smiling, hugging and shaking hands with friends after leaving what appears to be a police station in the Egyptian capital Cairo.

Abdel Fattah will remain on probation for another five years, reports said. His release was also celebrated by opposition figures and supporters on social media.

He was a leading secular figure in the 2011 revolt that toppled Hosni Mubarak, who had ruled Egypt for almost 30 years.

After the ousting of Mubarak, Abdel Fattah was arrested over his demonstration against the trials of civilians by military tribunals, known for their swift and harsh rulings.

Abdel Fattah also opposed Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Morsi and is one of the several well-known activists to have been jailed since the Army ousted him from power in 2013.

The charges against Abdel Fattah included organising an illegal protest and assaulting a policeman. They stemmed largely from a law prohibiting protests in Egypt without prior government permission, a measure that came after Morsi was overthrown.

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