Alaa Abdel Fatah’s case “marks a worrying trend for civil liberties,” said a group of local and international NGOs, public figures, media services and unions in a statement.
The blogger, who is known for his efforts in promoting freedom of speech and human rights, “has been jailed or charged under every government to take power in Egypt,” the groups said, adding that “he is now imprisoned by the current military government. He is not alone in this cycle of persecution.”
The signatories expressed concern and demanded the immediate release and fair trial of all those unjustly detained.
Abdel Fatah was arrested for the charges of rallying, “thuggery,” inciting violence, resisting authorities and violating the controversial Protest Law.
The statement read, “The military ‘interim government’ in Egypt is cracking down on virtually all meaningful form of assembly, association, or opposition.”
His arrest is among many other made in November for violating that law.
Abdel Fatah’s arrest on 28 November drew heavy condemnation from local and international groups. His home was raided by police and he was beaten during the arrest. He was also blindfolded and his hands were cuffed behind his back.
Since the arrest, Abdel Fatah and his sister Mona Seif, co-founder of No Military Trials for Civilians group, were sentenced alongside 10 others in a separate case. They were handed a suspended sentence of one year with labour for allegedly setting fire to the headquarters of former presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq.
Abdel Fatah’s targeting by authorities began in 2006 when he was arrested under ousted president Hosni Mubarak after demonstrating for an independent judiciary.
He was detained for two months in 2011 under the rule of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) for allegedly assaulting soldiers during attacks carried out by army forces against a predominantly Coptic protest outside the Maspero building in October 2011.
Last March, he was arrested on charges of insulting Islam and ousted President Mohamed Morsi.
Over 50 groups and people have signed the statement, including international groups such as the Human Rights Watch and local ones, like the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information and the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression.