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APC demands justice for Alaa Abd El Fattah and 24 activists convicted under draconian protest law in Egypt
APC strongly condemns the conviction of Egyptian activist and APC partner Alaa Abd El Fattah. On June 11, 2014, Alaa Abd El Fattah and 24 other Egyptian activists were sentenced to 15 years in prison for organising a protest in November 2013. Alaa Abd El Fattah was charged with organizing the protest despite the fact that a group against military trials for civilians claimed responsibility. Barred from entering the courtroom, all 25 activists were convicted in absentia. In addition to jail time, they will face five years of probation and a hefty fine (10,300 Euros) upon their release.
Since its adoption in November 2013, Egypt’s protest law has been used to squash dissent by political activists. The law essentially bans public gatherings of more than 10 people without government approval. Protestors are required to notify authorities three days in advance. The law specifically bans all demonstrations at places of worship – typical community meeting places targeted as starting points for marches and protests. The law also gives the secret police escalated powers and imposes jail time and heavy fines to those who disregard the law. Activists and human rights groups have condemned this law marking it as a return to an authoritarian regime in Egypt.
Alaa Abd El Fattah and his partner Manal Hassan are close partners of the APC network, particularly in the promotion of women’s rights, free and open source software, and the use of the internet as a tool for cultural expression and social justice.
“We are deeply concerned about Egypt’s serious breaches in the right to freedom of assembly and the right to a fair trial. We call on Egypt to respect its international obligations on civil and political rights, which includes their enjoyment in the online sphere” says Valeria Betancourt, Communication and Information Policy Programme Manager at the Association for Progressive Communications.
We stand in solidarity with Alaa Abd El Fattah and the other 24 activists convicted under the application of Egypt’s new protest law. We call on the Egyptian government to release the prisoners and repeal the protest law.
We continue to support the work of Alaa Abd El Fattah and other activists in their use of the internet as a tool for social justice. We call on the APC community to join the campaign to #FreeAlaa:
• Tweet and follow #FreeAlaa
• Join the multilingual #FreeAlaa Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/freealaa2013
• Find out more and join the #FreeAlaa campaign by Global Voices: http://bit.ly/1qF0fPK
This statement is endorsed by the following APC members:
Bytes for All, Pakistan
Foundation for Media Alternatives, Philippines
Institute for Global Communications, USA
Poncelet Ileleji, Gambia
Korean Progressive Network Jinbonet, South Korea
Nodo Tau, Argentina
Núcleo de Pesquisas, Estudos e Formação, Nupef, Brazil
OneWorld Platform for Southeast Europe Foundation, Bosnia and Herzegovina
ONG Derechos Digitales, Chile
Radio Viva, Paraguay
Sulá Batsú, Costa Rica
The Association for Progressive Communications (APC) is a worldwide network supporting the use of internet and ICTs for social justice.