The detention of activist Alaa Abd El Fattah was renewed by 15 days on Sunday by Qasr al-Nil court, while Ahmed Maher, founder of the April 6 Youth Movement was released.
Both Maher and Abd El Fattah are alleged to have called for a protest held outside the Shura Council last Tuesday against the military trial of civilians, in violation of a controversial new law passed the previous Sunday. Among the stipulations of the restrictive law is that police permission for protests must be obtained at least three days in advance.
Osama al-Mahdy, member of Abd El Fattah’s defense team, told Mada Masr that the two men faced the same charges, explaining that the release of Maher while Abd El Fattah remains detained indicates that the decision is political.
“There is no basis for these decisions,” he said.
Mahdy emphasizes the “selective” pattern that was obvious in the case since the beginning explaining that of those arrested in the protest Tuesday, only women, lawyers, journalists were released.
He said that those with “connections” were also released.
Mahdy said that the No to Military Trials group filed a report on November 27 claiming responsibility for the protest after the arrest warrants were issued against Maher and Abd El Fattah. He said that the prosecution initially refused to open the investigation, but then released them with no charges.
Abd El Fattah is being investigated on charges of attacking a police officer and stealing his walkie-talkie, inciting chaos and violating the protest law.
Maher is also accused of attacking a criminal investigations officer, Emad Tahoun, and stealing his walkie-talkie, according to state-owned daily Al-Ahram. It is also alleged that Maher took part in an illegal assembly, blocked traffic and called for a protest without obtaining permission from the Interior Ministry.
The protest on Tuesday was broken up by the police and over 60 people arrested, 24 of whom remain in custody.
Both Abd El Fattah and Maher were planning to turn themselves in to the general prosecution on Saturday, and Abd El Fattah has written a public statement and a telegram to this effect. Maher was able to turn himself in on Saturday as planned, while Abd El Fattah was arrested late Thursday night when armed police raided his home and assaulted both him and his wife, Manal Bahey El Din Hassan.
While Abd El Fattah did take part in Tuesday’s protest, it is unclear whether or not Maher actually attended the action.