#'We are the Voice' demands freedom for Egypt’s political detainees

Ahram Online, Monday 9 Jun 2014

New Twitter campaign calls for political detainees to be released, denounces the protest law responsible for putting many of them behind bars

Protesters holding the detainees
Protesters holding the detainees' photos at the press syndicate (Photo: Mai Shaheen)

A Facebook page launched on Sunday has called on Egyptian social media activists to dedicate 9 June to tweeting about political detainees under the hashtag "We are the Voice".

The campaign, launched by the "Free Mahienour" campaign calling for the release of jailed leftist activist Mahienour El-Masry, was also adopted by several pages linked to the April 6 Youth Movement and the Freedom for the Brave campaign, a grassroots movement calling for the release of all political prisoners in Egypt.

Although Sunday's Twitter campaign was launched in reaction to recent arrests in Egypt due to a new protest law that bans demonstrations not pre-approved by authorities, it also includes all those detained since the outbreak of the 25 January 2011 revolution.

"We are the voice because Mohamed Ihab was sentenced to 15 years by a military court in 2011 and because he still has 12 years to serve," one tweet read.

According to a story shared by the No to Military Trials campaign, Ihab was 17-years-old when he was arrested over a dispute with a police officer in April 2011 during an imposed curfew.

Another tweet with the same hashtag read: "Ahmed Ayman has been in detention since 30/6 [the date of mass protests against the rule of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi] and his detention keeps getting renewed without trial".

Recently-detained activists also got a big share of the tweets, with one reading "Ahmed Douma is arrested under every regime ... why are you scared of him government?”

In December, Douma and April 6's Ahmed Maher and Mohamed Adel were sentenced to three years in jail and fines of LE50,000 each for breaking the protest law. All three are well known for being at the forefront of Egypt's 2011 uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

The tweets also slammed the protest law, with one saying, "An unjust judge from the constitutional court issued unjust unconstitutional laws by which innocent were arrested ... 41 thousand are unjustly detained in the prisons of Egypt" – referring to former interim head of state Adly Mansour, the head of the High Constitutional Court who was responsible for issuing the protest law in November of last year.

The Wiki Thawra website – which documents all those who have been killed and detained from the 2011 uprising until December 2013 – estimates that around 41,000 detainees currently exist in Egypt, including those already released pending investigations or trials.


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