Egypt extends detention of prominent activist

AP News
Posted: Feb 15, 2017 9:35 AM

CAIRO (AP) — An Egyptian court has ordered the detention of an activist for failing to report to a police station because he had been detained by security agents elsewhere, his lawyer and a friend said Wednesday.

Abdel Azim Fahmy, a senior member of the secular, now-outlawed April 6 Movement, who is also known as Zizo Abdo, was detained for several hours last Wednesday, causing him to miss a court-ordered visit to a police station, one of the conditions of his release from custody.

He was detained again on Saturday for breaching his provisional release conditions and prosecutors charged him the following day with breaching a court order, his lawyer, Mokhtar Mounir, told The Associated Press.

On Tuesday the court ordered that he remain in custody, Mounir said.

Abdo was charged with incitement and membership in an outlawed organization in May, part of a wide-scale crackdown on dissent that has imprisoned thousands of people, mostly Islamists but also several prominent secular activists.

The April 6 movement played a leading role in the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak. It was outlawed after the military overthrew Mubarak's freely elected successor, the Islamist Mohammed Morsi, in 2013.

Mounir said he would appeal the order extending Abdo's detention, which he called "inhumane and irrational."

Activist Nour Khalil, who was detained along with Abdo last week, told the AP that Abdo had asked his interrogators to alert the police station he reports to that he was in their custody, but they refused. Abdo headed to the station immediately after his release five hours later, according to Khalil.

Another leading figure in the 2011 uprising, Khaled Tallima, said this week that he was fired from his job hosting a political talk show on the private ONtv network.

The network, recently purchased by a businessman allied with the government, did not announce Tallima's dismissal, and editor-in-chief Gamal el-Shennawy declined to comment. The Egyptian media, both public and private, is dominated by government supporters.