He comes home to his family and his 20-day-old son, who was born while his father was detained. Little Khaled was named after Egypt’s martyr, Khaled Said, who was brutally beaten to death by police informants outside an Internet café in Alexandria on June 6, 2010.
Alaa was detained by military court after refusing to answer any questions directed at him and instead remained silent, as he does not recognise military trials for civilians as being legitimate. He knew there would be a price to pay for that— and indeed he did pay. Alaa’s case was finally transferred to a civilian judge recently. Yesterday, the same judge re-started the investigation process, and soon afterwards released Alaa pending investigations.
Alaa had to go back to Torah prison, his detention place, for his release orders to be processed. He was then transferred to Cairo Central Security, where he was finally released.
The blogger was greeted by a slew of media outlets, and only moments after his release, he fiercely attacked military rule. He told the media that the real triumph would only come when the army generals who shot the protesters at Maspiro would be put through a fair trial. A mini protest followed, chanting “Down with military rule.”
Alaa wanted to stop by Tahrir Square before going home, so his family and some friends including myself, took him there. He was treated like a celebrity in Tahrir. People rushed at him to say their hellos and hug him. Friends who learned he was free from Twitter joined in Tahrir. Alaa immediately gave a passionate impromptu speech about what the revolution means, and what should happen next.
He eventually made it to his parents’ house much later, where he finally had a chance to enjoy his family, his wife activist and blogger Manal Hassan, who endured his absence as her pregnancy was coming to term, and his precious Khaled.
ALAA IS FREE.
Rasha Abdulla is an associate professor at the Journalism and Mass Communication Department of the American University in Cairo. An advocate for freedom of expression, Abdulla has published several books and writings on Internet use and digital activism in Egypt and throughout the Arab World. You can follow her on Twitter:@RashaAbdulla