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Monday, 02 August 2021

Most protesters arrested in 2013 released on bail: Egyptian rights lawyer

Amid a lack of official reports on the status of detained protesters, rights lawyers say most of the hundreds arrested since January of this year have been released on bail

Nada Hussein Rashwan, Sunday 14 Apr 2013
6 April
Members of the April 6 Youth Movement protest outside Egypt's High Court, April 6, 2013.(Photo by Mai Shaheen)
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As members of the 6 April Youth Movement plan to rally for the release of three of their detained colleagues, rights lawyers say most detainees arrested during clashes in Cairo and the governorates since January have been released over the past weeks.

Roughly 2,000 people had been arrested during clashes in Cairo since the beginning of the year, human rights lawyer Ahmed Emam told Ahram Online.

"It is hard to give an exact number for those still imprisoned in Cairo but the most prominent case is that of the three members of 6 April," Emam said.

Three 6 April Youth Movement members, along with one other protester, were detained following a demonstration against police violence outside the residence of Egypt's interior minister on 29 March. They were arrested for chanting against the interior ministry and describing the ministry as a "prostitute" to the regime.

Emam maintains that most of those who have been released were not formally acquitted.

"Most of them have been released on bail pending further investigation, so they could be summoned again at any point," he explained.

Egypt has seen a series of anti-government protests that repeatedly turned into violent clashes since the second anniversary of the 25 January uprising earlier this year.

The April 6 group announced on Sunday that it would protest on Monday outside the New Cairo courthouse where the Fifth District prosecution will decide whether to renew the detention of the three detained members of the group. The group has also announced a sit-in in front of the Shura Council starting Sunday until the release of their colleagues.

In Alexandria, prominent activist Hassan Mostafa has been imprisoned since January. Activist Mahinour El-Masry, who is working on the issue of detainees in Alexandria, told Ahram Online that most of those who have been arrested during protests since January have also been released on bail during the past few weeks.

"Around 170 were held in prisons since January. Some of them were minors who were arrested at random from areas surrounding the clashes," El-Masry said.

Mostafa, a 30-year-old marketing manager and rights activist who was arrested once before in 2010, was detained on 21 January and received a two year sentence on charges of assaulting a prosecutor.

Mostafa was arrested when he went to file a complaint with the Alexandrian prosecutor-general about the absence of lawyers for dozens of detainees arrested on 20 January during a protest.

On Saturday, while hundreds of supporters rallied outside the Borg El-Arab Court, Mostafa's appeal was adjourned to 4 May.

Around 100 protesters were also arrested during March in the Nile Delta cities of Tanta and Mansoura during anti-government clashes. In Tanta, three remain in prison pending trials due in May, according to Emam.

No official report has been issued by the prosecution on the number of detained protesters.

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