Egyptian blogger denied release misses birth of child

Detained blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah (@alaa) was denied a request to be released from detention by the High State Security Court on 5 December, preventing him from being present for the birth of his son the next day.

A Cairo-based media collective called Mosireen made a video showing the blogger at his trial, followed by a clip of baby Khalid with his mother, blogger Manal Hassan, after his birth on 6 December.

Abdel Fattah’s son was named Khalid after the iconic Khalid Said, whose brutal beating by Alexandria police in 2010 made him one of the icons of Egypt’s revolution. The birth of Khalid during the detention of his father has become an unfortunate family tradition, as Abdel Fattah’s sister and fellow activist, Mona Seif, was born while her father, a human rights lawyer was serving time in prison for his work.

Abdel Fattah, who has been detained since 30 October, was initially detained for 15 days, and since then his prison sentence has been extended twice, bringing his total time in prison to 45 days. He was initially prosecuted by the military court, but had his case transferred to civil prosecution on 22 November. While there was initial hope in the transfer, many have been dismayed by the continuation of the same pattern. Abdel Fattah has previously refused to be interrogated by military prosecutors, as he has been active in speaking out against the practice of trying civilians by the military. Abdel Fattah is scheduled to appear in court on Sunday, where he will learn whether or not his detention will be extended for another 15 days, pending investigation.