Fury on social media over Alaa Abdel Fattah detention

Egyptian social media buzzed with anger on Sunday after military prosecutors ordered that Alaa Abd El Fattah, a prominent blogger, be held in detention for 15 days on charges of inciting violence against the military.

Two presidential hopefuls condemned the military prosecutors’ decision. Abdel Moneim Abouel Fotouh, a reformist former member of the Muslim Brotherhood and a presidential hopeful, said on his Twitter account that the detention of Abd El Fattah “is a major setback for the Egyptian revolution.”

Nasserist presidential hopeful Hamdeen Sabahi also expressed his anger over the decision. “I strongly condemn trying political activists and commentators before military trials. SCAF [the ruling Supreme Council of Armed Forces] must commit to their promise not to refer civilians to military courts.”

On Sunday, Abd El Fattah and Bahaa Saber, another revolutionary activist and blogger, appeared before military prosecutors, where they were accused of inciting violence against the armed forces and assaulting military personnel during the clashes between the army and protesters in Cairo on 9 October that left 28 dead.

Saber was released on bail pending investigations.

Shortly after the military prosecutors’ decision was announced, the hashtag #FreeAlaa was trending on Twitter, while activists republished the banners they used in the campaign to free him after he was arrested for taking part in an anti-Mubarak protest in 2006.

A Facebook page demanding freedom for Abd El Fattah was created and has got nearly 1500 “likes” within less than two hours.

Some Twitter users argued that the regime of former President Hosni Mubarak, who was forced to resign following massive 18-day protests, has remained in place.

“It’s ridiculous, Mina Daniel’s sister goes to C28 [a military prosecution facility] in case she is needed to testify and show solidarity with Alaa, only to find Mina’s name at the top of the list of the accused in Maspero events,” wrote Nazly Hussein on her Twitter account.

Daniel, 20, a young revolutionary activist, was among thousands of protestors who marched to the Maspero state television building on 9 October. He was killed by gunfire from the Egyptian army when troops broke up the protest, in the worst violence since Mubarak’s removal from office in February.

Other Twitter users circulated verses from a poem supposedly written during the 1970s by Ahmed Seif al-Islam, a well-know human rights activist and Alaa’s father, in which he says, “The ones I saw killing are now investigating me.”

Hani Shukrallah, a journalist, tweeted a call for an international solidarity campaign with Alaa, urging some Egyptian officials such as Minister of Culture Emad Abu Ghazy, Minister of Social Solidarity Gouda Abdel Khaleq, and Minister of Finance and Deputy PM Hazem al-Beblawy, to resign in objection to the measures against Abd El Fattah.

The Mubarak supporter who goes by the alias Ahmed Spider said that he filed the complaint against Abd El Fattah, showing videos on YouTube in which he claims that Abd El Fattah was inciting violence against the military.

Spider wrote on Twitter that users of the social media network should hail this victory, promising “to go after others like Alaa until you are all in jail.”