Social media campaign demands release of young political detainee Ayman Moussa

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Activists and human rights defenders launched a campaign on social media to demand the release of the young Egyptian Ayman Moussa, a student in the Faculty of Engineering at the British University in Cairo.

A hashtag demanding a presidential pardon for Ayman Moussa appeared among the most frequently discussed on Twitter in Egypt. The hashtag enjoyed wide interaction on communication sites, as thousands participated in blogging to demand the detained young man’s release.

During Ramses Square’s events on 6 October 2013, Moussa was arrested in a case that included 68 others, who were all charged with several political charges. After the detainees were referred to the Criminal Court, all were sentenced to 15 years imprisonment and subject to police surveillance for a further five years. After a year and a half, the Court of Cassation rejected the defendants’ appeal, and thus the verdict became final.

The campaign began after a demand from his brother Sharif through his Facebook account three days ago. The message met a broad response that exceeded 20,000 visitors in a few hours, including some celebrities. It was republished more than 17,000 times, turning it into a humanitarian appeal and a large-scale campaign calling for Ayman’s release.

Sherif Moussa’s post explained his family’s suffering after the arrest of Ayman, who since the sixth of this month has exceeded half of his sentence. Sharif listed in his post the characteristics of his brother, indicating that he excelled as a student and was also a respected athlete, and confirmed that most of those who were with him in the case were included in a presidential pardon.

The interaction of the participants in the campaign calling for a pardon for Ayman included the assertion that his case is primarily humanitarian and that he deserves this presidential pardon, especially given that half of his sentence has expired.