- An Egyptian blogger, who was facing jail after he published a post alleging nepotism within the armed forces, has been released. He however had to apologise publicly to avoid a military trial.
The release of Ahmed Mostafa was conditional on him agreeing to apologise and on removing the March 2009 posting from his 'Matha Assabaka ya Watan' ("What happened to you, oh nation?") blog. The posting had alleged nepotism within Egypt's armed forces.
He was due to appear before a military tribunal for a second time on Sunday 7 March and could have faced up to nine and a half years in prison.
The first Egyptian blogger to face a military trial for his alleged activities, Mr Mostafa published, following his release, a post on his blog, advising other bloggers to check information before posting it.
According to Mr Mostafa's lawyers, the military tribunal has not given reasons for the release and the authorities have kept the case on file, meaning it could be revived in the future.
An engineering student at the university of Kafr El Sheikh, Mr Mostafa was accused of publishing military secrets online, publishing false information about the army and of insulting officers involved in the recruitment process at the military academy.
The post recounted the story of a student who had allegedly been forced to resign from a military academy in order to leave room for another applicant amid accusations of nepotism.
According to lawyers from the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, Ahmed Mostafa was first arrested by military intelligence officers on 17 February and was questioned about his blog.
His surprise release today has been welcomed by human rights groups such as Amnesty International and the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information. Amnesty in a statement today however said it remained concerned that the release of Mr Mostafa was conditional on his apology.
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