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Egypt releases leader of 2011 uprising

January 5, 2017

Ahmed Maher was instrumental in using social media to bring mass protesters into the streets during the Arab Spring. He was arrested in 2013 during a protest under the regime of current President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi.

Ahmed Maher
Image: picture-alliance/dpa

Egyptian authorities have released political activist Ahmed Maher, a leading figure of the 2011 pro-democracy uprising that toppled the authoritarian regime of Hosni Mubarak in February of that year.

Maher, 36, who was a co-founder of the April 6 protest movement, which used social media to bring people into the streets for the Arab Spring-inspired demonstrations, has completed his jail term, according to his lawyer.

There are conflicting reports as to whether he was released Wednesday evening or Thursday morning. His lawyers said that while Maher has returned to his home in Cairo he will be under judicial supervision for the next three years.

Maher was arrested in November 2013 while protesting a law banning public gatherings not authorized by the country's interior ministry.

Ägypten Ahmed Maher und Ahmed Doma im Gerichtssaal in Kairo
Ahmed Maher and Ahmed Douma in the courtroomImage: Getty Images/AFP/M. Khaled

He was convicted along with activists Mohamed Adel and Ahmed Douma who remain imprisoned.

Human rights groups say the government of President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi has sought to repress all voices of opposition since the former army general overthrew his Islamist predecessor Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

bik/kms (AP, AFP)