Egypt frees prominent activists before Eid Al Adha

Activists and journalists, including Esraa Abdelfattah, were released on Sunday

Egyptian activists and journalists were released from custody on Sunday following months of detention on charges including joining or aiding a terrorist group and spreading false news, their lawyers said.

Egyptian authorities have in recent months released detainees ahead of major Muslim holidays.

Sunday's releases come two days ahead of Eid Al Adha, one of the two most important festivals of the Islamic calendar.

Esraa Abdelfattah, an activist and journalist, was among the organisers of Egypt's January 2011 uprising that ended the 30-year rule of Hosni Mubarak.

Abdelfattah was released from custody in Cairo early on Sunday, more than 21 months after her arrest, her lawyer Ahmed Ragheb told Reuters.

"I spoke to her, she is doing very well," Mr Ragheb said. "Her spirits are high and she is surely very happy with this decision, in order to resume her life."

But he said Abdelfattah's case remained open and investigations were continuing despite her release.

Activist and lawyer Mahienour El Masry, journalist Moataz Wednan, columnist Gamal Al Gamal, leftist politician Abdel Nasser Ismail and journalist Mostafa Al Asar were also freed.

But the charges against them are also still pending, their lawyer said.

Egyptian authorities did not comment. Cairo's state information service confirmed their release but said no government statements on the matter were immediately available.

Abdelfattah was a co-founder of the April 6 Youth Movement, which has been banned by the Egyptian government for years.

She was arrested shortly after small, scattered demonstrations in Egypt in September 2019.

Wednan was arrested in 2018 after interviewing former anti-corruption chief Hisham Genena, who was trying to have a former military chief-of-staff elected in a challenge to President Abdel Fattah El Sisi that year.

Updated: July 18th 2021, 10:08 PM