Egyptian judge frees anti-junta blogger

The Guardian reports: One of Egypt’s most prominent revolutionaries has been released from jail after almost two months during which he missed the birth of his first child.

An Egyptian investigative judge ordered that Alaa Abd El Fattah, who has been at the forefront of anti-regime struggles for a decade and was a political prisoner during the Mubarak era, be freed pending investigation into charges that he incited violence against the military.

A picture posted by his sister Mona Seif showed him holding his new-born son Khaled on his release. His wife Manal Hassan, who is also an activist, gave birth to the couple’s first child while he was in detention.

Military prosecutors detained Abd El Fattah on 30 October after he refused to answer questions about their allegations that he played a role in clashes during a march by Coptic Christians on 9 October. At least 27 people, most of them Christians, were killed. Abd El Fattah was among those who spoke out against the army’s involvement in the violence, which was confirmed by multiple witness reports and video footage. But the military has accused Abd El Fattah of inciting Christian protesters to attack the soldiers. He was also accused of stealing a military weapon, deliberately destroying military property and attacking security forces.

His supporters dismissed the claims, saying the military was trying to silence a prominent critic and to deflect blame on its soldiers in the violence. Abd El Fattah wrote in newspaper articles smuggled out of jail that his arrest was motivated in large part by his insistence on autopsies to determine the cause of the protesters’ deaths.

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