[JURIST] Egyptian blogger Ahmed Douma, who had been sentenced to six months in prison for insulting ousted president Mohammed Morsi [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] was released on Saturday, according to the state news agency MENA [official website]. The prosecution requested Douma’s release [Reuters report] on Thursday, dropping his charges of publicly insulting Morsi in June. Despite the release order, Douma remained in custody for another trial on a separate charge. Douma was charged along with 11 others with inciting violence during protests in March in which at least 160 people were injured. The Cairo Criminal Court on Sunday acquitted all 12 defendants [Daily News Egypt report] because the evidence against them was deemed void.
Morsi was deposed from office [JURIST report] on Wednesday by the Egyptian military after several protests and demonstrations calling for his resignation for his alleged failure to address economic and security issues during his one-year tenure as president. Egypt has faced political unrest since the Egyptian Revolution [JURIST backgrounder] began over two years ago. Earlier this week, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) urged [JURIST report] Morsi to “heed the lessons of the past” and listen to the demands of the Egyptian public. In February 13 Egyptian human rights organizations alleged [JURIST report] that Egypt’s Ministry of Interior was responsible for police brutality and the deaths of protesters. Earlier that month the OHCHR criticized [JURIST report] Egypt’s draft law on demonstrations for failure to adequately protect freedom of assembly. The draft law required that organizers inform authorities about protest plans in advance and allows the interior ministry the right to reject demonstrations. The OHCHR also voiced concern [JURIST report] in January over the growing violence and rising death toll in Egypt stemming from ongoing protest throughout the country.