Prominent Egyptian blogger arrested and several other activists

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Alaa Abd El-Fatah, one of the Egyptian political activists, and one of the first bloggers in was arrested today together with around ten more activists during a peaceful demonstration in solidarity with sixty activists who were arrested over the past two weeks in a non-violent sit in, as well who were held in custody for two weeks under investigation for “crimes” that if anything would raise only mockery including, humiliating the president, possession of “publishing equipment”(graffiti spray) and blocking traffic.

Let Alaa return to Manal
Alaa was arrested on May 7th, 2006, together with around ten more activists during a peaceful demonstration .

The first group of activists arrested two weeks ago was supposed to have their cases reviewed by prosecution today, so as to release or renew holding them under investigation. In solidarity with them 200 lawyers approached as a defense council, a number of judges, and a number of activists among whom were Alaa and his colleagues gathered around the court house.

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Authorities denied the activists entry to the court house, in addition to attempting to present the “detainees” files only, and not the detainees themselves to prosecution. For hours, Alaa and his fellow activists shouted slogans against the government, sang and showed solidarity with their detained fellow activists. At the end of the demonstration police forces surrounding the group increased, refused to let them leave and started picking those to arrest, Alaa and ten others. They were taken to the nearby police station were they were denied lawyers, or any visitors. Lawyers are now standing outside the station just monitoring in case the arrested activists are taken somewhere else, which is exactly what happened. Three of them were taken blindfolded to another police station and were released later.

The latest attacks of Egyptian authorities rose to squash public support for the demands of Egyptian Judges for complete independence of the judiciary authority, which had the executive authorities interfering with its work for decades to forge elections, detain opposition leaders and punish voices that rise against decades of ruling under emergency law. Judges also demanded an investigation in the forgery of last elections. To shut them up, in a step with illegal procedures, the government, represented by the ministry of justice, referred two of the judges leading the movement to the validity committee. Judges had an open sit in their club (syndicate) for weeks now, the sit in that was supported by another sit in by Egyptian activists from Kifaya (enough), Al Horreyya Alan (freedom now), El Ghad party in addition to other movements and independent individuals outside the judges syndicate. For three days in a raw, police forces, assisted by thugs, attacked the activists sit in late at night, brutally beat the demonstrators and each time arrested a group of the demonstrators. At the first night: April 24th, police forces brutally beat up a judge, a court president. 60 activists were arrested in these attacks: among them Malek Mostafa , Mohammed Sharkawy and Mohammed Adel who are fellow bloggers. Mohammed Adel is a minor and is held in a regular prison facility. The arrested group has started an open hunger strike in solidarity with the demands of the judges and in protest for the continuity of their detention.

Alaa is one of the most active people working to support the blogosphere in Egypt. Coupled with his wife Manal, their “Bit Bucket“, is the aggregator collecting almost all Egyptian bloggers. He won the special Reporters Without Borders – DW Best of Blogs award in 2005 and was previously interviewed on Global Voices. He is one of the people that the Egyptian blogosphere success and latest wide spreading is indebted to.

[Hat tip -- Originally by Socrates]
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