September 30, 2019
A leading Egyptian pro-democracy activist was re-arrested Sunday while on probation, his family and a security official said, amid a sweeping security clampdown following small but rare anti-government protests earlier this month.
Alaa Abdel-Fattah rose to prominence with the 2011 pro-democracy uprisings that swept the Middle East and in Egypt toppled long-time President Hosni Mubarak. To many, his imprisonment three years later — at a time when authorities imposed draconian laws banning public gatherings and unauthorized demonstrations — was another sign of Egypt’s return to autocratic rule.
His release in March came after five years in prison for taking part in a peaceful protest against military trials for civilians.
Abdel-Fattah’s mother, Laila Soueif, told The Associated Press that her son was arrested Sunday from the police station in the Dokki area of Cairo.
Mohammed el-Baker, a rights lawyer who was attending the questioning of Abdel-Fattah by prosecutors, was also arrested, the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights, a local non-governmental group, said late Sunday. El-Baker had attended the interrogation of many people who were rounded up in the recent wave of arrests since last weekend.
Rights lawyer Khaled el-Masry said prosecutors ordered that both Abdel-Fattah and el-Baker remain in custody for 15 days during investigations into allegations of disseminating false news and taking part in activities of an outlawed group. That latter is a reference to the Muslim Brotherhood, which the government designated a terrorist group in 2013.
(Mada Masr English Facebook, 29/09/19)