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Egypt blogger arrested for violating new law restricting protests

Egyptian blogger and activist Alaa Abd El Fattah [blog, in Arabic; Twitter feed] was arrested Thursday on charges of inciting a demonstration in violation of the country's recently enacted law [JURIST report] circumscribing citizens' right to protest in public. Egypt Prosecutor General Hisham Bakarat issued a warrant [AP report] for Abd El Fattah for failing to notify the police [AhramOnline report] in advance of the protests he allegedly organized. The new law requires that the police be notified at least three days in advance of any public demonstration of more than ten people. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Human Rights Watch (HRW), and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights [JURIST reports] have all expressed their disapproval of the law, emphasizing Egypt's need to maintain and respect its citizens' rights to freedom of assembly and peaceful protest.

Although the Egyptian government lifted the country's state of emergency [JURIST report] and evening curfew earlier this month, the country has been plagued by continuing protests and violence since the beginning of the Egyptian Revolution [JURIST backgrounder] in 2011. Last week, an international team of lawyers accused [JURIST report] the Egyptian military and the country's interim government of crimes against humanity as well as a number of other human rights abuses. A week earlier, ousted President Mohamed Morsi [JURIST news archives] announced his intentions to file a complaint [JURIST report] alleging that his removal from power by the military was illegal. This came only a week after the Cairo Court for Urgent Matters upheld a September ruling [JURIST reports] that banned all activities of the Muslim Brotherhood [BBC backgrounder, JURIST news archive], the political group with which Morsi was affiliated, and allowed for confiscation of the group's assets.

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