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'Freedom for the brave' holds protest, calls for release of detainees: Gallery

Activists, including Alaa Abdel-Fattah, fresh out of prison on bail, gathered by Cairo Opera House to demand the release of all political prisoners in Egypt

Mai Shaheen, Thursday 3 Apr 2014
opera
Freedom for Asmaa and Abdel Wahed posters as dozens of activists gathered outside Cairo Opera House near Downtown Cairo for the release of detainees (Photo by Mai Shaheen)
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Dozens of activists, including prominent leftist Alaa Abdel-Fattah, held a protest on Thursday near downtown Cairo to call for the release of political detainees and demand fair investigations and trials.

Organised by "Freedom for the Brave" – a grassroots movement aiming for the release of political detainees in Egypt – the protest drew the families and friends of those who had been arrested in recent months – mostly on charges of organising illegal protests, as per a law issued last year which bans all demonstrations not pre-approved by the police.

The protesters on Thursday formed human chains outside of Cairo Opera House, where they raised pictures of the detained and those facing trials, including prominent activists Ahmed Maher and Ahmed Douma, who played a large part in the January 2011 uprising and have been in jail since November.

Banners read: "Free the detainees".

University professor and mother of Abdel-Fattah, Laila Soueif, told Ahram Online that the group would gather again on Saturday outside the prosecutor-general's office to voice the same demands.

Abdel-Fattah, who was detained for more than three months on charges of illegal protesting, was released on bail late last month pending a trial on 7 April.

A crackdown by Egypt's interim authorities on thousands of supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi has since broadened to include secular activists, hundreds of which have also been jailed.

In one of the largest waves of arrests, more than 1,000 people were rounded up on 25 January in demonstrations marking the third anniversary of the 2011 uprising, according to statistics from the interior ministry.

Three other prominent activists arrested on that day – Khaled El-Sayed, Mohamed El-Sayes and Nagy Kamal – were released last month.

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