April 6 Youth Movement founder Ahmed Maher was released from an Egyptian jail this morning, the movement announced on social media.
In a short message on Facebook, the group posted an image of Maher and wrote: “Ahmed Maher has finally been released!” He is said to be home with his family.
Thirty-six-year-old Maher is one of the founder of the April 6 Youth Movement which was a driving force behind demonstrations which led to the downfall of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
He was detained on 29 November 2013 for holding a demonstration against a new Egyptian protest law imposed by the coup government of now President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi. On 22 December 2013, together with other opposition leaders, Maher was sentenced to three years in prison as a punishment for protests against recent steps by the Egyptian military government. On 7 April, a court rejected their appeal.
Human rights groups have repeatedly called on the Egyptian government to stop its crackdown on activists in the country, calling such moves “a clear violation of citizens’ rights to free association, peaceful assembly, and free expression”.
During his time in prison Maher has complained of “police brutality every day, and there is no one who can stop them from murdering us in our cells if they want to.” In a letter he wrote in March 2014 he urged his supporters to tell the world: “There is no protection today nor tomorrow, and tell them that whoever is silent about it today will face worse tomorrow.”