Press Timeline

Fix Your Own Democracy

Omar Robert Hamilton, London Review of Books

Eight sets of T-shirts, socks, underwear: white. Trousers: blue. Sweaters: blue. If you’re going to visit Alaa in prison, don’t wear blue in case the guards mistake you for an inmate. It happens, his mother tells me in all seriousness. Do not wear blue.

Judge withdraws from Alaa Abdel Fattah’s appeal case, cites ’embarrassment’

A judge at Egypt’s Court of Cassation withdrew on Thursday from the case of imprisoned political activist Alaa Abdel Fattah, who is appealing a five-year sentence for violating Egypt’s protest law, state newspaper Al-Ahram reported.

The judge gave no clear reason for his decision, only citing “embarrassment.” He referred the case to another circuit, while setting a new trial date for November 8.

Alaa Abd El Fattah – a software engineer, blogger and activist – was one of the public faces of the 2011 revolution that removed Hosni Mubarak from power.

Alaa Abd El Fattah sentenced to five years in jail

Jared Malsin, the Guardian

An Egyptian court has sentenced a prominent pro-democracy activist to five years in prison for violating a law banning unauthorised protests in what rights groups describe as an ongoing clampdown on dissent.

Alaa Abd El Fattah – a software engineer, blogger and activist – was one of the public faces of the 2011 revolution that removed Hosni Mubarak from power.

After 100 days of hunger striking, Alaa Abd El Fattah agrees to partial strike

Imprisoned leftist activist Alaa Abd El-Fattah has moved to a partial hunger strike as of Wednesday, after more than three months on full hunger strike.

With 24 other secular activists, Alaa was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for partaking in an unauthorized protest, along with other accusations, in light of a non-violent rally dating back to November 2013. 

At the Shoura Council Show Trial

Omar Robert Hamilton, London Review of Books

On Saturday, the court case known in Egypt as the Shura Council trial was in session. Judge Hassan Farid entered the courtroom, flanked by the two other judges on the panel and a couple of morose security guards. The defence were to continue their closing arguments, the prosecution having wrapped up a month ago. But before the defence could begin, the judge leaned in to his microphone and asked if the prosecution had anything they wanted to say. The courtroom fell into a stunned silence – and then erupted in protest.

Alaa Abdel Fattah's defence accuses prosecution of fraud

The defence team for political activist Alaa Abdel Fattah and other defendants charged with violating the protest law has accused on Saturday the prosecution of fraud and submitting new evidence to the court long after it was due.

Abdel Fattah, a political activist who gained attention during the January 25 uprising in 2011, and 24 other defendants were sentenced to 15 years in prison last June for illegal assembly, among other charges. The court then ordered a retrial in June.

Defence witnesses start testimonies in trial of 25 activists

Defence witnesses in the retrial of 25 activists have argued that an unauthorised protest over which the defendants were sentenced to jail was forcibly dispersed by police.


The accused, including Alaa Abdel-Fattah leading activist in the 2011 uprising, were sentenced to 15 years in prison in June for violating the widely criticised protest law which bans all but police-sanctioned demonstrations, assaulting a policeman and stealing his radio, inciting riots, blocking traffic and vandalising public property.

Trial of Abdel-Fattah, 24 other activists adjourned to 17 November

The retrial of Alaa Abdel-Fattah and 24 other activists, for their involvement in an unauthorised protest last year against military trials of civilians, has been adjourned Tuesday to 17 November.

Defendants are to remain in jail pending the ongoing trial, as lawyers request their release.

Criticism has been on the rise as of late for the continual renewal of preventative detention for defendants in various cases as trials drag on in courts.

April 6 founder Ahmed Maher joins hunger strike

Ahmed Maher, the jailed former head of the April 6 Youth Movement, has joined a growing hunger strike movement.

Maher, who founded the now-banned movement, stopped eating on 15 September, April 6 member Zizo Abdou said.

The hunger strike has been gaining momentum with activists, journalists and supporters inside and outside of jail joining to denounce a restrictive protest law and to call for the release of political detainees.

Egyptian activist Alaa Abd El Fattah is given bail

Egypt's most prominent activist, who is facing a retrial on a 15-year prison sentence for violating the country's draconian protest law, has been granted release on bail.

Lawyer Mohammed Abdel-Aziz said Alaa Abd El Fattah – a blogger and vocal government critic since mid-2000 – had been released on bail of 5,000 Egyptian pounds (£430) along with two other activists. Abdel-Aziz said Abd El Fattah and his two fellow defendants should walk out of prison on Tuesday once paperwork has been completed.

Activist Alaa Abd El Fattah to attend his father’s funeral

Taher Abul Nasr, Alaa Abd El Fattah’s lawyer, told Mada Masr that the Interior Ministry approved Alaa’s request to attend his father’s funeral, along with his sister Sanaa.

According to privately owned Youm 7, the funeral will take place following Asr prayers in Salah Eddin Mosque, Manial, the hospital in which Lawyer Ahmed Seif al-Islam, Alaa and Sanaa’s father, died.

Legal issues in the Shura Council case

Mostafa Mohie, Mada Masr

Five legal issues in the case of the Shura Council protest have emerged throughout the development of the case since November 2013 and which have been flagged by the defendants’ families and lawyers. Alaa Abd El Fattah is among the 25 defendants, who were sentenced on Wednesday to 15 years in absentia, in addition to five years under surveillance and a LE100,000 fine:

Activists Alaa Abdel-Fattah, Mona Seif receive suspended jail sentence

The Giza Criminal Court on Sunday handed leftist activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah, his sister Mona Seif and ten more defendants a suspended one-year jail sentence on accusations of torching the campaign headquarters of presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq.

As the jail term is to remain suspended for three years, should any of the defendants be found guilty of additional charges within this time, this one-year term would be added onto any subsequent sentences.

Revolutionary blogger freed in Egypt

Mohamed Fahmy, CNN

A prominent Egyptian blogger freed by an Egyptian judge on Sunday lambasted the military government and said "nothing has changed" since President Hosni Mubarak was ousted from power in February.

"It's not the end of the case, that I am out. The real criminals, the generals of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, are still at large and they must be tried," said Alaa Abd El-Fattah, whose case is pending further investigation. "I have been released, but there are thousands that remain in prison. "

Court ruling gives detained activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah right to vote

The Egyptian Administrative Court ruled Saturday that detained blogger Alaa Abdel-Fattah should be permitted to vote in the second phase of the ongoing parliamentary elections.

Abdel-Fattah, who is remanded in custody on several charges, including inciting violence against the military in October’s infamous Maspero clashes, filed a lawsuit demanding that the Interior Ministry allow him to cast his vote in the People Assembly’s elections.

The court ruled in his favour on the grounds that “he did not commit a crime involving moral turpitude”.

Egypt releases blogger jailed for 45 days after 'insulting' President

Jeff Blake, The Independent

Egyptian authorities have ordered the release of an award-winning blogger and activist, imprisoned 45 days ago on charges including insulting the President.

Alaa Seif al-Islam, 24, who was arrested at a pro-reform demonstration on 7 May, had drawn the ire of the authorities for his provocative weblog and taking part in banned street protests. He is expected to be released from the Tora prison in Cairo today.

Cairo Clamps Down on Dissent

Rory McCarthy, The Guardian

A year ago the Egyptian authorities were talking about political reform, promising to hold fair elections and open up one of the Arab world's more authoritarian regimes. But those days are long gone. Now the government has launched a crackdown against its critics, arresting pro-democracy activists and bringing legal cases against a group of outspoken senior judges.