egyptian activist hassan mostafa acquitted of helping ten detainees escape from custody

by Tim Phillips

On January 21, Hassan Mostafa went with a group of lawyers and activists to the office of the Prosecutor General in Alexandria, Egypt, to ask what would happen to dozens of protesters arrested the previous day. The protesters had been arrested following the trial of police officers accused of killing protesters during the revolution that ended the decades-long presidency of Hosni Mubarak. Approximately one hour after leaving the office, Mostafa, who had been active in Egypt’s opposition movement for several years, was arrested.

Mostafa was accused of insulting and attacking prosecutor Ahmed Darwish, but Mostafa denied the accusations. Yet on March 12, Mostafa was convicted. Mostafa was sentenced to two years of hard labor, though on June 15 an Alexandria appeals court lowered his sentence to one year. On July 7, Darwish withdrew his complaint against Mostafa, allegedly because prominent activists and revolutionary groups demanded Mostafa’s release.

Mostafa remained in preventive detention, however, due to a separate case in which the prosecution claimed Mostafa incited people to block a railway and helped 10 detainees escape. In August, Mostafa was finally released pending trial. Today the Alexandria criminal court acquitted Mostafa in that case.

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