March 15, 2014
CAIRO – Prominent activist Alaa Abdel Fattah is to stand trial on March 23 for allegedly participating in a violent protest, state media reported Saturday. The announcement came as a court handed two-year prison sentences to 68 supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi and opposition activists on the same charge, a judicial source said. Abdel Fattah was a well-known activist and blogger during the 2011 uprising that overthrew strongman Hosni Mubarak, and he supported the military’s ousting of Morsi two years later. But he and other activists have since clashed with the new government, which has waged an extensive crackdown on both Islamists and secular activists like him.
He had been hailed as an “icon of the revolution” by the military-installed presidency after Morsi’s overthrow, before he began protesting against the new regime. Abdel Fattah will face trial with 24 other defendants for a November protest against a clause in the constitution allowing the military to court martial civilians, the official MENA news agency reported. He is charged with assaulting a police officer during the protest, held in violation of a law that bans all but police-sanctioned demonstrations.
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