[JURIST] Prominent Egyptian blogger and activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah [Twitter feed; in Arabic], was released on bail Monday as he faces retrial for organizing an unauthorized protest. Abdel-Fattah’s lawyer said [AP report] his client was released on bail of 5,000 Egyptian pounds (USD $714) and that he and two other activists will leave prison Tuesday. Abdel-Fattah, a secular activist, was charged in November and later sentenced to 15 years in prison under the country’s law criminalizing unauthorized protests, then recently signed [JURIST reports] by interim President Adly Mansour [BBC profile; JURIST news archive]. The Egyptian court granted Abdel-Fattah a retrial last month after a mass hunger strike by non-Islamist demonstrators. The judge presiding over the retrial has since stepped down and the proceedings will recommence once a new judge has been selected.
Since the law banning unauthorized protests was passed, Egypt has detained numerous demonstrators, especially those affiliated with ousted former president Mohammad Morsi [BBC backgrounder] and his Muslim Brotherhood [party website] political party. A pan-Arab rights group released a report earlier this month accusing Egyptian authorities of being complicit in the torture [JURIST report] and sexual abuse of detained teenage protesters. On September 4 an Egyptian judge ordered an investigation [JURIST report] of three lawyers after they demanded to see their client, a hunger-striking activist, in court. The Egyptian government banned [JURIST report] the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood in July as part of their crackdown on the ousted regime. In June an Egyptian court sentenced [JURIST report] 34 Morsi supporters to a fine and two years in prison for violating the protest law.