Egyptian activist Alaa Abdel Fattah released from jail after five years

Alaa Abdel FattahImage copyright Getty Images
Image caption Alaa Abdel Fattah was a leading figure in the uprising against ex-President Hosni Mubarak

A prominent Egyptian activist has been released from prison after serving a five-year sentence for organising an illegal protest, his family says.

Alaa Abdel Fattah rose to prominence during the 2011 uprising against former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

He was arrested in 2013 for campaigning against the generals that ruled the country after Mr Mubarak’s resignation.

His sisters, Mona and Sanaa Seif, posted messages on Facebook on Friday stating: “Alaa is out.”

Sharing a picture of Mr Abdel Fattah playing with his sister’s dog at home, they thanked everyone who “followed and supported” them during his jail term.

The pro-democracy activist’s lawyer, Khaled Ali, also shared a post confirming his release, writing: “Thanks God, Alaa Abdel-Fattah at home.”

A video shared by the “Free Alaa” Facebook page showed Mr Abdel Fattah smiling, hugging and shaking hands with friends after leaving what appears to be a police station in the Egyptian capital, Cairo.

As part of his sentence, Mr Abdel Fattah will remain on probation for another five years, the Associated Press reported.

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His release, which was reported by pro-government and independent media outlets in Egypt, was also celebrated by opposition figures and supporters on social media.

Who is Alaa Abdel Fattah?

Mr Abdel Fattah was a leading secular figure in the 2011 revolt that toppled Hosni Mubarak, who had ruled Egypt for almost 30 years.

The blogger and software engineer was once described by authorities as “the icon of the revolution”.

After the ousting of Mr Mubarak, he was arrested over his demonstration against trials of civilians before military tribunals, known for their swift and harsh rulings.

Mr Abdel Fattah also opposed Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Morsi and is one of several well-known activists to have been jailed since the army ousted him from power in 2013.

The charges against Mr Abdel Fattah included organising an illegal protest and assaulting a policeman.

They stemmed largely from a law prohibiting protests in Egypt without prior government permission, a measure that came after Mr Morsi was overthrown.

“I don’t deny the charge,” he said in a statement at the time. “It’s an honour to hold responsibility for people’s rallies in defiance of legalizing the return of the rule of Mubarak.”

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