Egyptian activist Alaa Abd El Fattah jailed for organising protest

Patrick Kingsley, the Guardian

The extent of Egypt's counter-revolution has been laid bare by the jailing of one of the key figureheads of the 2011 uprising – a conviction that means Alaa Abd El Fattah has been jailed or investigated under each of the country's five heads of state since Hosni Mubarak.

Abd El Fattah, one of the activists most associated with the 2011 uprising that briefly ended 60 years of autocratic rule, was sentenced to 15 years in jail for allegedly organising a protest – an act banned under a law implemented last November, and used to jail several revolutionary leaders.

According to Abd El Fattah's sister, Mona Seif, also a prominent campaigner, he and another activist were sentenced in absentia after being barred from entering the courtroom then arrested and taken to prison by some of the officials who had earlier blocked his entrance.

Seif wrote on Facebook that Abd El Fattah was "waiting for the judge to give permission to the guards to allow them to enter the venue to attend their session, but [instead] someone from the prosecution went out and arrested them".

Abd El Fattah's supporters say his trial was clearly politicised, and that he had no role in the protest against military trials that he is accused of organising.

Abd El Fattah was also jailed under Mubarak, the military junta that succeeded him, and Adly Mansour, the interim president installed after the overthrow of Mohamed Morsi last summer. Under Morsi, Abd El Fattah escaped prison, but was placed under investigation.

Abd El Fattah joins several other well-known revolutionary leaders in jail. Mahienour el-Masry, who led protests against police violence in 2010 that set the stage for the 2011 uprising, was jailed last month, while Ahmed Maher, the co-founder of the 6 April youth movement who also inspired anti-Mubarak demonstrations, has been in jail since November.