Egypt has sentenced Alaa Abdel Fattah, a blogger and pro-democracy activist, to 5 years in jail. His retrial began in October of this year. He was arrested for organizing a protest in 2013. Two other journalists had appeared in court with Alaa Abdel Fattah, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed. Both of which report for Al Jazeera and their trials were postponed until March. Fattah worked as a software engineer before his activism.
Alaa Abdel Fattah has been seen as a threat by the government and has been called the “icon of the revolution.” Fattah was behind the 2011 uprising. Fattah has been in and out of prison since 2011 with the ouster of Hosni Mubarak. He was also known to oppose President Mohammed Morsi, overthrown in 2013, along with the next president, Abdel Fattah el-Sissi
After the ruling had been given, the court erupted into yelling and chanted “Down with military rule!” and “Down with oppression!” His original sentence was that of 15 years in jail, but his sentence was reduced. Along with accusations of organizing and participating in a protest, he was charged with assaulting an officer.
The United States has urged Egypt to review the law on demonstrations, along with the verdicts that had been ruled under said law. The US has also encouraged Egypt to amend said law and enable full expressive freedom. “[The United States was] deeply troubled by the new harsh sentences… These sentences and others under the [demonstrations] law have had a chilling effect on key freedoms of expression and assembly,” said Jen Psaki, the spokeswoman for the State Department.