On the anniversary of an arrest, Egyptians are campaigning for the military prisoner’s release

Published October 27th, 2015 - 01:59 GMT
Civil rights activist Alaa Abdel Fattah was arrested on charges of violating Egypt's protest law four years ago. (AFP/File)
Civil rights activist Alaa Abdel Fattah was arrested on charges of violating Egypt's protest law four years ago. (AFP/File)

Four years ago on Tuesday, activist and blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah was arrested on charges of violating Egypt's protest law. Fattah was demonstrating against extended government power that allowed civilians to be tried in military court.

In February Fattah, at the age of 32, was sentenced to five years in prison. But Egyptians haven't forgotten about the civil rights activist.

On Tuesday the anniversary of Fattah's arrest during the Arab Spring incited a social media campaign to free him. It evolved to become more than just a call for Fattah's release, but for the freedom of all military prisoners. Among them are believed to be Mustafa Masooni, an Egyptian social media activist who went missing.

A handful of English and Arabic hashtags took off with thousands of users — #FreeAlaa, #FreeAllPrisonersofConscience, الحرية_لعلاء_عبد_الفتاح# (#FreedomForAlaaAbdelFattah), and ماصوني_فين#  (#FreeMasooni). Thousands of Egyptians changed their Twitter profile images to a photo of Fattah. 

It has been a year now for Alaa in jail with his other 42,000 political inmates.

If someone was kidnapped you go to the police. Only in Egypt the police is the kidnapper.
 
But others weren't so happy to jump on the social media campaign. Later in the day, the #FreeAlaa hashtag was overtaken by a spoof on the movement, #FreeSmeda. 
 
We are collecting donations for Smeda; if you want to donate please call me.
 
By Hayat Norimine


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