Update: 23 Shura Council protesters released, 1 still in detention

On Monday evening, the prosecution released 23 defendants arrested in the Shura Council protest last week. They were released on LE5,000 bail, pending investigations.

One detainee, Ahmed Abdel Rahman, is still in custody, according to the defendants’ lawyers.

Earlier in the day, April 6 Youth Movement founder Ahmed Maher was ordered back into detention for four days pending investigations, reported the state-owned Middle East News Agency (MENA).

Maher is accused of violating the newly-passed protest law by organizing a protest without prior notification of the security forces, attacking police officers, illegal assembly and blocking roads.

Maher was among 27 detainees arrested in the course of the violent dispersal of a protest in front of the Shura Council last Tuesday. Activist Alaa Abd El Fattah was also among the detainees.

While Abd El Fattah did take part in Tuesday’s protest, it is unclear whether or not Maher actually attended the demonstration.

After the initial release of the two activists, the prosecutor put out an arrest warrant for both men. Both Abd El Fattah and Maher were planning to turn themselves in to the general prosecution on Saturday, and Abd El Fattah had written a public statement and a telegram to this effect. But Abd El Fattah was arrested late Thursday night when armed police raided his home and assaulted both him and his wife, Manal Bahey El Din Hassan.

Maher handed himself in to the prosecution at Abdeen Court on Saturday as planned, confessing that he called for the protest in front of the Shura Council.

The prosecution then added to the charges against Maher, accusing him of attacking police forces guarding the courthouse.

They claimed that Maher and his supporters attempted to storm the court on Saturday, which forced security forces to fire tear gas to disperse them. The protesters were accused of throwing the tear gas canisters back at the police, injuring some security personnel.

However, activist Gigi Ibrahim, who was present during the protest in front of the Abdeen Court, told Mada Masr that a group of angry protesters attacked Maher there, which security forces used as a justification to disperse the protest.

According to Ibrahim, the protest was planned in solidarity with the 24 other detainees who had been imprisoned since the dispersal of the Shura Council protest.

Maher is also accused of attacking a criminal investigations officer, Emad Tahoun, and stealing his radio communication device, according to state-owned daily Al-Ahram.

Meanwhile, the Thuwwar Front said on Monday that the prosecution released an official arrest warrant for a group of its founding members, including prominent revolutionary socialist Haytham Mohamadeen, April 6 members Sherif al-Rouby and Zizo Abdou, singer Ramy Essam and activist Sayed Sobhy.

Mohamed Ibrahim, the spokesperson for the leftist group, told Mada Masr that the Front is not yet sure why the warrants were issued.

“It could be due to destroying the Tahrir memorial, or for calling for a protest in violation of the protest law. We are not yet sure,” Ibrahim said.

“I believe it is an attempt to break the evolving revolutionary momentum in the street. It is obvious that the Front’s founders are being targeted,” he added.

It is not yet clear if the activists would be arrested or if they would hand in themselves to prosecution.

Mohamadeen was detained last September on charges of founding and running the Revolutionary Socialists movement, which the prosecution described as a secret organization aimed at assaulting citizens, harming social peace, empowering one social rank over the rest of society and disturbing the social order. The charges were ultimately dropped and he was released a few days later.

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