Egyptian Activist Ahmed Maher Released after Three-Year Sentence

Ahmed Maher, a co-founder of the April 6 movement, was scheduled to be released from Egyptian prison on January 2, 2017, after completing a three-year sentence for illegal protesting. He was finally released early Thursday morning. Despite his release, Maher reportedly must spend the hours of 6:00pm-6:00am in a police station for another three years.

Maher was sentenced in December 2013 alongside activists Ahmed Douma and Mohamed Adel, both of whom remain in prison. Maher’s delayed release raised concerns that authorities were attempting to bring additional charges against him from previously closed cases in order to keep in prison. Egyptian activist and former political prisoner Mohamed Soltan expressed concern that a new case was “being cooked up” during the delay.

The U.S. State Department declined to comment on the delay at a briefing on January 3. Egyptian politician Mohamed ElBaradei welcomed Maher’s release, tweeting, “You and your colleagues were at the forefront of those defending rights and supporting the oppressed.”

While in prison, Maher penned a 2014 Washington Post op-ed critical of the Egyptian regime. “Violations of human rights only encourage others to resort to violence and to despair of peaceful and democratic resistance. […] I assure you that individual freedoms, democracy, respect for human rights, dialogue and inclusion are also important in the fight against terrorism,” he wrote in 2014.