CAIRO: On May 20, a court in Alexandria upheld a two-year jail sentence against Mahinour el-Masry, 28, and while many her supporters are demanding for her release on social media sites, there are dozens more that are neglected by activists.
Most of the Facebook events and hashtags launched were for Mahinour, despite the fact that there were about five others who were arrested over the same charges.
Six others were sentenced in the same case as Masry, including activists Louai Al-Kahwagy and Omar Hazek. Eight more activists were detained on May 22 in a protest calling for Masry’s release in Alexandria.
The number of tweets that included the hashtag for al-Kahwagy translated into “Free Loai al-Kahwagy” reached about 30 tweets only while Masry’s tweets got the highest trends on Twitter in Egypt. Twitter users created an account @freeMahienour, which has about 700 followers and counting.
Facebook users created an event called “FreeMahienour” scheduled to take place on June 8 at the Bread and Liberty Party headquarters.
During the past prominent arrest cases of activists and reporters, there had been a number of detainees who were arrested among prominent figures with the same charges, but did not get the same amount of attention because they are less known on social media websites.
Political activists held a number of protests calling for the release of Masry and created an event on Facebook called Exhibition of Mahienour in Alexandria, a photo exhibition for Masry and the other detainees poet Omar Hazek, Loai Kahwagy, and Islam Hassanein.
Several poets and intellectuals expressed solidarity with Alexandria poet Omar Hazek in a statement issued last February.
Masry’s arrest ignited outrage among activists on social networking websites against the controversial protest law.
El-Watan News reported that the majority of void ballots in Alexandria during the presidential election took place on May 26, 27, and 28 were deliberately invalidated by writing messages in solidarity with Masry.
Among those who are arrested and neglected is political activist Mohamed Sultan, who has been arrested on Aug. 27, 2013. He has been on a hunger strike for 105 days since he started on Jan. 26 after his detention was repeatedly renewed, according to the event’s statement on Facebook.
Al Jazeera journalist Abdullah el-Shamy was detained in August while covering the dispersal of Rabaa al-Adaweya, facing trial on the charges of attempted murder, joining an armed gang, assaulting security forces, and other related charges.
Shamy’s lawyer Shaaban al-Saeed issued a grievance demanding his release and referring him to forensics so that a report could be written documenting Shamy’s poor medical condition, Youm7 reported Saturday.
Al Jazeera condemned Shamy’s detention as well and said it considers it an “arbitary detention.” According to its website, the news network also said dozens of human rights and journalism organizations joined with Al Jazeera condemning a security raid on its Cairo offices and the removal of all its equipment despite the fact they’re licensed by the Egyptian government.
Three April 6 Youth activists Movement Ahmed Maher, Ahmed Doma, and Mohamed Adel were sentenced to three years in jail and fined 50,000 EGP for orchestrating illegal protests and assaulting police officers in November 2013 in front of Abdeen Misdemeanors Court.
Most of the events organized by April 6 Youth Movement called for the release of Maher, Adel, and Doma despite the fact that there are about 23,000 people arrested facing charges on basis of the law.
“There are 23,000 people in jail, most of which were detained and facing charges on the basis of the protest law,” April 6 posted on Twitter, with a hashtag that translates into “Release Egypt” and a petition to abolish the law.
Masry was sentenced to two years in prison and fined 50,000 EGP ($7,000) for protesting in December in solidarity with Khaled Said, whose brutal death in 2010 in state custody helped spark the January 25 Revolution in 2011. Masry was convicted of violating the infamous 2013 protest law.
“We do not like prisons but we are not afraid of it and at the end, freedom is in the hands of people, not the military and guards,” Masry was quoted as saying.
Additional Reporting by Rym M. AlSheikh