Friday, December 28, 2018

Egyptian Woman Activist Amal Fathy Released
Woman detained over video criticising the government remains under house arrest

Associated Press
Thu 27 Dec 2018 15.36 EST

Amal Fathy, pictured with her husband activist,  Mohamed Lotfy. He confirmed her release in a Facebook post.

 Amal Fathy, pictured with her husband, activist Mohamed Lotfy. He confirmed her release in a Facebook post. Photograph: Courtesy of IAPL
Egyptian authorities have released a prominent activist who had criticised the government and spoken out over sexual harassment after more than seven months of detention, her lawyer said.

Doaa Moustafa said her client, Amal Fathy, was freed from a police station in Cairo on Thursday, more than a week after a court ordered her conditional release.

Fathy must report to a nearby police station every week and is under house arrest, allowed only to leave for medication or visiting a police station or court, Moustafa said. Her husband, activist Mohamed Lotfy, confirmed her release in a Facebook post.

Police arrested Fathy in May after she posted a video online criticising the state for deteriorating public services and a lack of action over sexual harassment. She cited alleged harassment at the branch of a local state-owned bank. The video also shows her using profanities to describe her experience at the bank and repeatedly insult the state.

Fathy faces charges of disseminating false news and joining an outlawed group. “Membership in an outlawed group” is Egyptian government shorthand for having ties to a range of outfits that it has outlawed, including the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist organisation that authorities have banned and labelled a terrorist group.

Najia Bounaim, Amnesty International’s north Africa campaigns director, said this month that Fathy’s conditional release was “not enough”.

“The Egyptian authorities must now drop all charges against her, quash her earlier conviction and two-year prison sentence and ensure she doesn’t face any further reprisals for freely expressing her opinions,” she said in a statement.

Separately, Fathy received a suspended two-year prison sentence in September for insulting employees in the bank and using abusive language to criticise state institutions and decry sexual harassment against women. There is a ruling due on her appeal in that case on 30 December, her lawyer said.

President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi has overseen a crackdown on dissent, jailing thousands of Islamists and secular, pro-democracy advocates and imposing tight control on the media while rolling back freedoms won in a popular 2011 uprising.

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