Alaa Abdel-Fattah Free; Judge Steps Down
Prominent activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah was released on bail today, along with Mohamed 'Noubi' Abdel-Rahman and Wael Metwally.
Three of Egypt's most prolific activists finally walked free from prison today. Alaa Abdel-Fattah, Mohamed Abdel-Rahman aka Noubi and Wael Metwally were released on bail of EGP 5,000 each. The trio had been convicted in absentia in June for violating the protest law, and each was given a 15-year prison sentence.
However the use of a private home video during Abdel Fattah's retrial last week caused the judge to step down from the stand today. The police officer behind the use of a clip of Abdel-Fattah's wife dancing at a family party is set to face a full investigation.
Alaa Abdel Fattah was a leading secular figure in the 2011 revolt that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak.
The men began hunger strike in August this year in protest at their convictions.
Abdel-Fattah's lawyer added that Monday's ruling comes "in accordance with the law," charging that the in absentia nature of the first verdict was legally questionable because security forces had prevented Abdel-Fattah from entering the courthouse to attend the trial's proceedings.
In the hours following the news Egyptian activists took to social media to celebrate the victory. Here's just a sample of the joyous comments that followed the news.
This sounds like a broken record at this point, but I don't wanna see #FreeAlaa ever again on my TL.— Ahmed Salem (@TheAhmedSalem) September 15, 2014