Alaa Abd El Fattah
is an Egyptian blogger, software developer, and political activist. He is known for co-founding (along with his wife Manal) the Egyptian blog aggregator "Manalaa" and "Omraneya", the first Arab blog aggregators that did not restrict inclusion based on the content of the blog. In 2005 his blog won the Special Reporters Without Borders Award in Deutsche Welle's Best of Blogs competition. He has been active in developing Arabic-language versions of important software and platforms.
El Fattah grew up in a family of activists and activism was a constant topic of discussion in his childhood. His father, Ahmed Seif El-Islam Hamad, a human rights attorney who had been arrested in 1983 by State Security Investigations Service officers and tortured and imprisoned for five years, is one of the founders of the Hisham Mubarak Law Center. His mother Laila Soueif, sister of Ahdaf Soueif, is a professor of mathematics at Cairo University and a political activist. His parents' activism dates to the days of Anwar Sadat During a demonstration in 2005 his mother, along with other women, were attacked by Mubarak supporters; El Fattah was said to have protected her.
May 2006 arrest and reaction
On 7 May 2006, he was arrested during a peaceful protest after he called for an independent judiciary. His arrest, along with that of several other bloggers and activists, spurred solidarity protests by others around the world, some of whom created the blog "Free Alaa" devoted to calling for his release from jail. El Fattah was released on 20 June 2006, after spending 45 days in jail. His wife Manal was quoted by the The Independent as saying There's no going back now, we'll definitely be continuing our activities .
Abd El Fattah was out of Egypt on the 25th of January 2011, when the government shut down the internet in the country; he was able to collect information from family and friends by land-line phones and published to the world what was happening in Egypt during the first days of the revolution.
A few days later he was in Egypt, and was in Tahrir square in 2nd of February, participated in defending the square against the military and mobs attack, known as Egypt's Camel battle.
Continued his participation in the Egyptian revolution, till the fall of president Mubarak, and after that he returned to live in Egypt, when he again participated in the demonstrations against the SCAF (Supreme Council of Armed Forces) way of running the country.
On October 30, El Fattah was arrested on charges of inciting violence against the military during the October 9 Maspero demonstrations, during which hundreds of people were injured and 27 died in the worst violence since Mubarak left office. El Fattah refused to recognise the legitimacy of his interrogators or answer their questions and was then to be held for 15 days, a period that could be indefinitely renewed by authorities. He is accused of having incited fighting in Maspero, of assaulting soldiers and damaging military property. As in his 2006 imprisonment, his mother has spoken out in his support, and initiated a hunger strike in opposition to the court-martialling of civilians on November 6th. His father and sisters also participated in the 2011 protests.. His sister Mona Seif is a founding member of the 'No Military Trials for Civilians', a group raising awareness for the civilian detainees summoned by military prosecutors and investigating torture allegations involving military police.
The UN Commission for Human Rights has called for the release of Abd El Fattah and all others imprisoned for exercising free speech .