#Trending #Egypt: Twitter, Facebook users mark imprisoned activist's birthday

#Trending #Egypt: Twitter, Facebook users mark imprisoned activist's birthday
Egyptian social media users have been tweeting good wishes to imprisoned activist Alaa Abd al-Fattah as he spends his 34th birthday behind bars.
2 min read
19 Nov, 2015
Many Egyptians have celebrated the "pink dragon's" birthday [Facebook]
Egyptians have taken to social media to celebrate the birthday of a leading figure of the 2011 revolution, who is spending his birthday behind bars serving a five year sentence for "organising an unauthorised protest".

Netizens have used Twitter and Facebook to wish imprisoned computer programmer and pro-democracy activist Alaa Abd al-Fattah a happy birthday as he turned 34 on Wednesday, using the Arabic-language hashtag #TheDragonTurns34.

Fattah, or the "pink dragon" as he is affectionately called by his friends, was sentenced to five years in prison for violating a law banning unauthorised protests in what rights groups have described as an ongoing clampdown on dissent.

Friends and colleagues wished Fattah a happy birthday and posted images of themselves with personal messages for the imprisoned activist.

      Fattah is serving a five year sentence [Getty]
"Alaa is turning 34 and is going to spend his birthday in prison. Let's celebrate his birthday together by taking group photos that we'll show him next time we visit him, careful groups of ten are considered a protest and five a rally," said the Facebook group announcing the birthday celebrations.

"I miss the sound of your voice and its hoarseness. I miss talking to you and your stories about your varied experiences," tweeted journalist Sara al-Sherif.

Fattah's aunt well-known novelist Ahdaf Soueif tweeted an image of a birthday cake with a picture of the blogger printed onto the icing.

"We will laugh together soon, walls cannot separate us. Our laughter won't be monitored by prison guards, we won't have to ask permission to light your birthday candles and we won't have to show our IDs to meet our friends and loved ones," said Nazly Hussein on Facebook.

Last month, the #FreeAlaa social media campaign was launched to coincide with Fattah's first year in prison.

The pink dragon has been is no stranger to prosecution, his first arrest came in 2006 during the Mubarak presidency for participating in a peaceful protest for judicial independence.

He was jailed again in the aftermath of the 2011 revolution, missing the birth of his son. In 2013, under Islamist president Mohammad Morsi, he faced charges that activists said were intended to silence dissent.