Egypt frees Ahmed Maher, founder of April 6 movement

Egypt frees Ahmed Maher, founder of April 6 movement
The youth activist and contributor to The New Arab was imprisoned for three years, following the Egyptian military's coup and subsequent ban on protest.
2 min read
05 January, 2017
Ahmed Maher holding a t-shirt in court, reading "down with the protest law" [AFP]

Prominent civil activist, Ahmed Maher, was released from prison on Thursday, having completed a three-year prison sentence for protesting.

The founder of the "April 6 Movement" was arrested in November 2013 for allegedly assaulting police officers and holding an unlicensed protest against new government laws that banned unlicensed protests.

"Finally, Ahmed Maher has been released and he's arrived at home," the April 6 Movement wrote on its Facebook page.

The 36-year-old activist, who has written a number of articles for The New Arab from his prison cell, was met with a mixed reaction upon his release.

"Ahmed Maher and [his] colleagues are at the forefront of the defence of truth and the victory of the oppressed," tweeted Mohammad al-Baradei.

Meanwhile, Ahmed Musa, an Egyptian TV personality was less than thrilled at the activist's release.

"Maher is the founder of a terrorist organisation who has finished his sentence and been released," said Musa on his prime-time show.

"But now I ask - what about the issue of article 250?" he said, referencing Egypt's controversial law banning foreign funding of NGOs and organisations.

Musa then repeatedly insinuated that Maher was guilty of acting in the interest of foreign powers and should be investigated under the country's espionage laws.

Maher's brother, Mustafa, said the activist was consulting his lawyers on whether to sue Musa for libel.

The April 6 movement is a decentralized activist network which was set up in spring 2008 to help facilitate student protest in support of striking textile workers.

The group played a large role in the protests which led to the January 2011 revolution and the overthrow of the Mubarak regime.

The leader of the April 6 movement, Amr Ali, was also imprisoned for three years in March 2016 for charges related to unlicensed protest.

: Ahmad Maher is on the ground guys, Congratulations and may all the detainees ✌️@GhostyMaher