EgyWatch – June 11, 2019

Egyptian political activist Alaa Abdel Fattah has complained about the security surveillance he has been mandated to since his release in March.

Under this surveillance, he presents himself daily at 6pm to the nearest police station to spend the night in a cell until 6am upon which he is released. This makes Alaa a free man during the day and a prisoner in solitary confinement at night.

This harsh procedure obliges Abdel Fattah to run his life by hours, for the course of five years. This follows a sentence he received on February 23, 2015, condemning him to five years imprisonment followed by five years under police surveillance for his participation in a protest, thus breaking the 2013 law restricting the right to demonstrate.

Following his release from prison, Alaa Abdel Fattah now spends his morning with his son Khaled and accompanies him to swimming lessons or to the nursery, then tries to find time to work on his personal projects. He meets his lawyers and friends and writes complaints in protest of his treatment. Upon his arrival at the police station he cannot be contacted and is not permitted to keep his mobile phone or laptop during his confinement.

Last month, Abdel Fattah filed a complaint to the National Council for Human Rights regarding the intransigence of his mandated security surveillance, but to no avail.

He said that officers from the National Security Agency had threatened him with prison twice if he persisted in talking publicly about his daily surveillance and night-time confinement.

Alaa Abdel Fattah was one of Egypt’s leading bloggers and activists in the post-2005 period. As a programmer, he was involved in managing several platforms that advocated freedom of expression and public space. Indeed, he is one of the icons of the 25th of January Revolution.

He was arrested by Egyptian authorities on November 28, 2013, on charges of incitement to demonstrate. On the day of his arrest, 20 policemen stormed his house, broke the door, and confiscated the family’s computers and mobile phones.

On February 23, 2015, he was sentenced to five years imprisonment and five years of police surveillance, and the Court of Cassation upheld the verdict in 2017. On March 29, 2019, he was released.