Reporters Without Borders hails Sunday’s decision by a state security court to release the blogger Alaa Abdelfattah from Cairo’s Bab el Khalk prison, where he spent nearly two months in pre-trial detention. The court has nonetheless banned him from leaving the country pending trial.
“We hope that this is a first step towards withdrawal of all the charges against Abdelfattah and recognition of his innocence,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The authorities must put a stop to the political trials of civilians and accept their own responsibility for the violence that has taken place during street protests.”
Arrested on 30 October on a charge of inciting violence against the armed forces during rioting in the Cairo district of Maspero, Abdelfattah is now charged with stealing a firearm belonging to a soldier, attacking military personnel, destroying military property, murder with premeditation and intending to commit a terrorist act. The date of his next hearing is not known.
Maikel Nabil Sanad, a blogger who was given a two-year jail sentence on 14 December, is still being held in an isolation cell. Reporters Without Borders reiterates its appeal to the authorities to free him without delay.