Socialist Worker

Freedom for Egyptian revolutionaries but many more face state repression

by Anne Alexander
Issue No. 2517

Mahienour el-Massry, who has been released

Mahienour el-Massry, who has been released (Pic: Mohamed Hossny)

Egyptian revolutionary socialist activists Mahienour el-Massry and Yousef Shaaban have been freed from jail after serving 15-month sentences on trumped-up charges.

Mahienour and Yousef are well-known in their home town of Alexandria for the key role they played in the 2011 revolution.

They helped to organise the first protests against police brutality which later grew into a nation-wide campaign.

They have endured inhuman conditions in Egypt’s overcrowded prisons, along with tens of thousands of others seized during the clampdown since the coup of 2013.

They suffered from lack of water, soaring temperatures in the filthy cells and inadequate access to medical treatment.

Mahienour and Yousef were greeted on their release by Taher Mokhtar, an activist in the Doctors’ Union and a campaigner for prisoners’ rights.

Taher was also freed on bail last week after lawyers successfully appealed against the continuation of his pre-trial detention.

He and his flatmates were seized in a dawn raid on their home in Cairo in January this year.


The security forces stormed into their apartment and claimed they were planning protests against the military regime on the anniversary of the 2011 revolution.

They also seized copies of reports which Taher was working on documenting medical neglect in Egyptian prisons.

Meanwhile thousands of other political prisoners remain in detention, many without formal charges.

They include hundreds arrested during the crackdown on protests against the sale of the Tiran and Sanafir islands to Saudi Arabia earlier this year.

Labour lawyer and revolutionary socialist activist Haitham Mohamedain was arrested on 22 April and is in detention awaiting trial.

In a recent letter to supporters he argued that the protests over the sale of the islands couldn’t be separated from the struggle against privatisation.

The generals who sold off Tiran and Sanafir are also selling off Egypt’s public services, industries and agriculture to investors from the Gulf and elsewhere.

Worker activists are also targets of the crackdown.

Workers from Alexandria Shipyard who were arrested in May and charged with “incitement to strike” were set to find out their sentence from a military court this Tuesday.

Go to for information about campaigns to support political prisoners in Egypt

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