Alaa Abd El Fattah, the Egyptian activist and blogger who was sentenced in June to fifteen years in prison and began a hunger strike 26 days ago, has been freed on bail. Abd El Fattah was given release following a hearing for retrial, which he still faces. According to the Guardian, the judge presiding over the retrial has stepped down at the request of his defense lawyers. In addition to Abd El Fattah, Mohamed Abdel-Rahman aka Noubi and Wael Metwally were also released on bail.
A member of Egypt's Human Rights Council said last week that the law restricting protests—under which Abd El Fattah and his sister Sanaa Seif were both prosecuted—is "currently undergoing an amendment phase," according to Al Ahram, which also reported that Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim stated he "does not have any problem" with the law being amended.
In addition, Abd El Fattah's defense lawyer stated that the court has demanded an investigation into the prosecutor's use of videos used last week in the hearing that were found on a computer belonging to Abd El Fattah and his wife. The defense argued that the prosecutor did not have a warrant to search the computer nor to show the videos found on it, one of which showed Abd El Fattah's wife dancing.
We are thrilled for Alaa to be reunited with his family. We reiterate our call for his case to be dropped, and for others prosecuted under the draconian anti-protest law to be released.