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EU parliament urges release of Egyptian blogger, end of military trials for civilians

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The European Parliament urged the Egyptian government on Thursday to release prominent blogger activist Alaa Abdel Fatah and suspend trials of civilians in military courts.

EU parliament members, in a resolution, condemned the “judicial harassment” of Abdel Fatah, who after being jailed under the Mubarak regime was last October remanded and accused of inciting violence during a demonstration by Coptic Christians in Cairo.

“Furthermore, the emergency law should be ended without delay,” the resolution added.

His family has used his case to draw attention to the 12,000 Egyptians who have faced military trials this year - one of the key issues that have brought relations between activists and the military to a new low.

Protesters welcomed Egypt’s army when it deployed in the streets during the uprising and praised it for not firing on demonstrators. Months later, however, some fear that the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which took control after Mubarak’s fall, will not willingly give up power to a civilian authority. Others accuse the military of reviving hated practices of the Mubarak era.