Abdel Fattah says he lost free speech prize nomination for anti-Israel tweets
Activist Alaa Abdul Fattah - YOUM7/Amr Moustafa

CAIRO: Activist Alaa Abdel Fattah says he has been withdrawn for consideration for a European Parliament free speech honor due to tweets he made hostile to Israel.

The Egyptian activist was nominated for the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought earlier in September along with two other Arab activists.

Abdel Fattah wrote on his Twitter account Wednesday that the European Parliament released a statement saying the nomination had been withdrawn. “This is an official statement,” he tweeted.

“The rappers Mr Mouad Belghouate (also known as El Haqed from Morocco) and Mr Ala Yaacoubi (also known as Weld El, from Tunisia) and the Egyptian blogger and political activist Mr Alaa Abdel Fattah were nominated by the GUE/NGL group,” said the European Parliament in a statement from Sept. 23.

Abdel Fattah was released on bail Sept. 15 pending his trial over the Shura Council incident from last November. The charges in the case stem from demonstrations he and other activists organized in front of the Parliament demanding the end of the 2013 Protest Law.

The prosecution charged Abdel Fattah and his colleagues with attacking police forces and government facilities, and in his first trial before appeal he was sentenced to 15 years in jail.

But on Sept. 15, the court released Abdel Fattah, Mohamed Nouby and Wael Metwaly, and fined them 5,000 EGP ($700). The case was also referred to another judge.

Before being released, Abdel Fattah went on hunger strike shortly after visiting his ailing father Ahmed Seif El-Islam—also an activist—on Aug. 18. His family released a statement saying Abdel Fattah in choosing to go on hunger strike decided “not to play the role they [security forces] have chosen for him.”

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