Egyptian activist Ahmed Douma freed from prison after presidential pardon

Egyptian activist Ahmed Douma freed from prison after presidential pardon
Ahmed Douma, who was involved in the uprising of 2011 against Hosni Mubarak, has been released from prison after almost 10 years after a presidential pardon.
2 min read
19 August, 2023
Ahmed Douma has been released by presidential pardon after serving 10 years in prison [Getty]

Egyptian authorities on Saturday released prominent activist Ahmed Douma from a prison complex outside Cairo where he had served almost 10 years of a 15-year sentence after being convicted of taking part in clashes between protesters and security forces in the Egyptian capital in December 2011, according to rights lawyer Khaled Ali.

“Douma is free,” Ali wrote on Facebook. He posted a photo showing the activist along with former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi outside the Badr prison complex.

The nearly weeklong clashes that left some 40 people dead erupted after mostly young activists took to the streets to protest the post-Mubarak political transition overseen by the military. The riot involved a fire that gutted parts of a library housing rare manuscripts and books. Other government buildings, including the parliament, were damaged during the protests.

The clashes brought international attention when riot police were filmed beating, stripping and kicking female demonstrators in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the 2011 uprising.

For years, many politicians and public figures called on President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to pardon Douma, as part of mounting calls for the Egyptian regime to end a crackdown on dissent.

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Egyptian authorities have in recent months released hundreds of mostly liberal-left activists after its human rights record came under international scrutiny when it hosted the U.N. climate change summit in November.

Egypt, a close U.S. ally, has waged a wide-scale crackdown on dissent over the past decade, jailing thousands of people. Most of those imprisoned are supporters of the overthrown democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi and the January 25 democracy, but the crackdown has also swept up a diverse array of Egyptians from all backgrounds.