Monday, September 15, 2014

Egyptian activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah released on bail

Alaa Abdel-Fattah on the shoulders. The photo is from March of this year, when he was also briefly released from prison. (Photo AP).  

The Cairo Criminal Court unexpectedly released Alaa Abd El Fattah, along with two other defendants, on LE5,000 bail in the ongoing Shura Council case on Monday. The judge presiding over the case also stepped down. Abdel-Fattah, Mohamed Abdel-Rahman aka Noubi and Wael Metwally were sentenced to 15-years in prison and fined LE100,000 on charges of organising an illegal protest, rioting, destruction of public property and using violence against security forces.
The judge recused himself from the trial due to an incident which occurred during the trial's last session on Wednesday, said Mohamed Abdel Aziz, director of the Cairo-based al-Haqanya human rights centre and one of the lawyers representing the defendants.

The court was watching videos presented by the prosecution as evidence in the case when the prosecution played a "personal" video for Abdel Fattah's family, said Mahmoud Belal, among the defence team. The video was taken from the laptop of Abdel Fattah's wife, confiscated during his arrest in November.
"The police and the prosecution illegally obtained the video," Belal had told Aswat Masriya. He added that the security authorities which carried out Abdel Fattah's arrest order did not possess a permit from the prosecution to search the defendant's house or confiscate any of his assets. The court ordered the footage shown during the last court session be referred to the General Prosecution, to investigate those responsible for including it with the evidence, state-owned Al-Ahram reported.
Abd El Fattah and 24 others were sentenced to 15 years jail and a LE100,000 fine last June, but only he and fellow defendants Mohamed Noubi and Wael Metwally were arrested outside the Police Academy at Tora prison the morning of the trial.
Last month, Abd El Fattah launched an open-ended hunger strike against his detention.

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