The Cairo Criminal Court has ordered the release of Alya Awad, a reporter with the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Rassd News Network who is among the 215 defendants on trial for allegedly belonging to the Helwan Brigades, a Cairo-based militant group.
Awad was accused of filming a video the group released on August 15, 2014 threatening attacks against the police. The Interior Ministry made sweeping arrests after the video’s release.
In an interview with the privately owned newspaper Youm7 in September 2014, Awad said that she fled her house following the arrest of several people accused of involvement with the video. She was arrested in Alexandria days later.
In February 2015, the prosecution referred 215 defendants to trial in the case. In Monday’s court session, the judge decided to release Awad pending the trial, and adjourned the hearing until Tuesday to continue listening to witnesses.
The defendants face charges of belonging to an illegal group, obstructing the work of state institutions, violating the rights and freedoms of citizens and harming national unity. Awad has denied all charges against her.
The video features masked men in black uniforms linking their arms and announcing that they will target the Ministry of Interior in the South Cairo area in retaliation for their violence against protesters. The man narrating the video accused the police of forcing peaceful men to hold weapons in order to defend themselves. The video ends with the men chanting, “No peacefulness with the police” and “God is great.”