Egyptian activist Alaa Abd El-Fattah to be freed today

Prominent Egyptian activist and blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah due to be freed today
2 min read
27 March, 2019
A leading Egyptian activist is due to be released from prison on Wednesday after five years behind bars.
Abd El-Fattah was arrested on a range of charges following a peaceful protest [Getty]

Egyptian activist and blogger Alaa Abd El-Fattah is due to be released Wednesday, after serving a five-year imprisonment on charges related to "illegal protests".

Abd El-Fattah, who rose to prominence during Egypt's 2011 uprising, was convicted of flouting Egypt's repressive protest law by participating in a peaceful protest in 2013 to oppose military trials against civilians.

The activist was arrested on a range of charges - along with other 25 people - due to their involvement in a peaceful protest in November 2013 outside the Shura Council building in Cairo.

The protests were triggered by a law issued by the government banning any gatherings of more than ten people that were not approved by the interior ministry.

Two days following the ban, Abd El-Fattah and other members of a group called "No to Military Trials for Civilians" took to the street, which was violently dispersed by police.

In June 2014, a court sentenced him and his co-defendants in absence to 15 years in prison and fined 100,000 Egyptian pounds ($5,665). However, his sentence was reduced to five years after a retrial that ended in February 2015.

Eighteen people were subsequently pardoned by Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, but activist Abd El-Fattah was not among them.

His detention had been described by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention as "arbitrarily".

Since the arrival of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to power after a military coup, Egyptian security forces have launched a wholesale crackdown on dissent and political activist as well as banning and dissolving NGOs.

According to critics, Sisi's rule over Egypt has seen the worst crackdown on freedom of expression in the country's recent history.