Egypt activist says will face trial for violent protest

Egyptian blogger and activist Alaa Abdel Fattah speaks during a TV interview at his house in Cairo. (AFP)

A prominent Egyptian dissident against the ruling Islamists will stand trial for allegedly participating in a May attack on a presidential candidate’s headquarters, he told AFP on Thursday.

Alaa Abdel Fattah, who was jailed during the previous regime of Hosni Mubarak, said he had received a letter telling him he and 12 others, were to go on trial.

The defendants include his sister and fellow dissident Mona Seif. They are accused of having taken part in an attack on Ahmed Shafiq’s offices.

“Today I received notice by mail that the case has been referred to court,” he said.

The attack on Shafiq’s offices came after the former prime minister – who served during Mubarak’s rule – made it to the second round of a presidential election from which Mohamed Mursi emerged victorious.

“It is clear they are targeting all kinds of activists,” said Abdel Fattah. The notice he had received said the decision to place him on trial had been taken on March 3, he added.

Judicial officials were not immediately available for comment.

Activist and blogger Abdel Fattah was earlier this week ordered arrested and then released on separate charges of inciting clashes outside the ruling Muslim Brotherhood’s headquarters last week.

Other prominent opponents of President Mohamed Mursi have also been placed under investigation.

Shafiq himself fled the country following his loss to Mursi. He is due to be tried in absentia on corruption charges.

Abdel Fattah had been a leading opponent of Mubarak and joined calls for the overthrow of the strongman who had once jailed him.

The military, which ruled in between Mubarak’s ouster and Mursi’s election last June, also jailed Abdel Fattah. On that occasion it was for his alleged involvement in an October 2011 incident in which soldiers cracked down on a Christian protest, killing more than 20 demonstrators.

Following last Friday's violence outside the Muslim Brotherhood's headquarters, Morsi, a former leader of the Islamist movement, warned that the authorities would take “the necessary measures” against those involved.

Islamists and the secular leaning opposition have traded blame for the violence, which took place against a backdrop of high political tensions in Egypt two years after the revolution that ousted Mubarak.

Last Update: Saturday, 30 March 2013 KSA 11:01 - GMT 08:01