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Hassan Mustafa released

Court orders the release of Alexandrian political activist after six months in jail

Protest was held outside Al-Mansheya court in solidarity with Hassan Mustafa (Photo by Ahmed Arab\File Photo)
Protest was held outside Al-Mansheya court in solidarity with Hassan Mustafa
(Photo by Ahmed Arab\File Photo)

On Sunday, the Alexandria Criminal Court ordered the release of political activist Hassan Mustafa pending trial.

Mustafa was arrested in January and remained in jail for six months. He was charged with helping ten detainees escape custody, and insulting and assaulting a public employee.

Hamdy Khalaf, one of the lawyers defending Mustafa in court, said the defence team requested postponing the trial and releasing Mustafa. The trial was postponed until 2 September.

Khalaf denied that Mustafa helped any detainees escape. The detainees were arrested for blocking the railway. They were protesting the Badrashein train crash which occurred in January, killing at least 19 conscripts.

“Abdel Mawgood Lotfy, who was then Alexandria Security Director, came to the scene of clashes and asked people to calm down and promised that the ten detainees would be released,” Khalaf said.

Khalaf said the policeman whom Mustafa is accused of assaulting denied that Mustafa helped the detainees escape. He added that the decision to release Mustafa confirms his innocence.

Mohamed Salem, Mustafa’s brother, claimed Mustafa was the victim of a plot by the prosecution and security forces to round-up certain political activists.

“We hope this is a new era in dealing with political activists,” Khalaf said.

Protesters gathered outside Al-Mansheya court, where Mustafa was being tried, on Sunday morning to voice their solidarity with the detained political activists, Salem said. He added that the trial took place amid maximum security measures.

Mustafa was tried and sentenced to two years  hard labour in March on charges of assaulting prosecutor Ahmed Darwish. The sentence was later reduced to one year of hard labour in June.

The political activist was released on the latter charge in early July after Darwish withdrew his complaint. He remained in preventive detention on the charge of helping detainees escape.

Hassan Mustafa is a prominent Alexandrian activist most famous for helping shed light on the Khaled Said murder case in 2010. He began a hunger strike twice since his imprisonment.


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