Imprisoned teenage science competition winner to be released
An Egyptian student slated to represent his country at(Intel ISEF) - YOUM7(Archive)

CAIRO: Prosecution authorities in Asyut ordered the release of Abdullah Essam, the 17-year-old Egyptian winner of the international Intel Science and Engineering Fair who was arrested April 24 for violating the protest law, Freedom for the Brave group reported Sunday.

Khaled Abdel Hamid, Freedom for the Brave’s co-founder, said Essam was released on a 5,000 EGP ($714) bail. He added that it was difficult to establish direct contact with Essam and the exact day of his release remains unclear. Essam was scheduled to travel today to participate in an ISEF competition held in Los Angeles from May 11 to 16.

On April 29, Essam’s detention was renewed by Asyut prosecution for 15 days pending investigations. He was first accused of protesting in violation of the protest law and then charged with burning a policeman’s car.

The Abdeen Court of Misdemeanors today also decided to release another 45 detainees, each on 1,000 EGP bail. Known as the “downtown detainees,” they had spent 100 days in police custody pending investigations over their involvement commemorating the January 25 Revolution in 2014. They were accused of carrying weapons and participating in violent protests in addition to charges of killing political activist Sayed Weza, according to Yanair Gate. The news website further reported that 228 people were detained for their involvement in that case, but some have already been released.

On Saturday, prosecution authorities in Fayoum also ordered the release of a student on 10,000 EGP bail after the student was arrested a few days earlier during the dispersal of a University of Fayoum protest, Wady News reported Sunday.

The issue of political detainees has been widely debated in recent months. Rights groups have demanded the release of thousands of students and activists arbitrarily arrested and detained for undefined periods of time.

Presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi gave a televised speech Saturday in which he promised to pardon prisoners of conscience if elected president.

His rival candidate, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, is scheduled to give a televised interview on Monday evening. According to his official presidential campaign website, Sisi is critical of the cruel treatment of protesters, and recognizes the need to train security forces to protect detainees from being tortured.

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