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Egypt: Reaping Legal Victories as the Revolution Continues

This post is part of our special coverage Egypt Revolution 2011.

About ten days ago, the Egyptian military forcefully pushed away the protesters demonstrating outside the Egyptian cabinet. More than 15 people were killed and another 300 people were injured. The videos showing men in military uniform savagely beating protesters and beating and undressing a woman brought the Egyptians esteem and hope for the future of their revolution to its lowest point.

However in the past two days, the Egyptian revolution achieved two new victories but this time in the halls of courts of justice and away from Tahrir Square, the epicentre of the Egyptian revolution in downtown Cairo.

Among those victories is the release of Egyptian blogger Alaa Abdelfattah, who had been detained for 56 days. And the importance of Alaa's case comes from the fact that he refused to be interrogated by the Military Prosecutor, in protest against the legitimacy of Military Trials for Civilians. He was later transferred to Civil Court and yesterday Alaa was released but pending investigations as Wael Abbas highlighted in his tweet:

@waelabbas: Egyptian blogger Alaa Seif is free pending investigations

As soon as he was free, Alaa paid Tahrir Square a visit, and Mohamed Abd El-Hamid reported the sentiments in the Square then.

@MohAbdElHamid: #Tahrir is happy that @alaa is back and cars were honking in support. #AlaaIsFree

Alaa with Khaled Said Mother
Alaa hugging the mother of Khaled Said after his release

Photo by @Monasosh

Alaa is not the first blogger to refuse to submit to a military court, he was preceded by blogger Maikel Nabil Sanad who was arrested in March. However the importance of Alaa's case comes due to his both local and international fame and charismatic character.

Adham El-Deeb summarizes in the following tweet the importance of Alaa's release despite the fact that he hasn't been declared innocent of the charges against him, which include inciting violence against the military, stealing a weapon and destroying military equipment during the October 9 Maspero massacre, in which 25 Egyptians, mostly Copts, were killed in clashes between the military poilce and protesters demanding answers for the burning of churches in Sohag and Aswan.

@Adham_Eldeeb: حريــة علاء – من وجهه نظري – إنتصار لإرادة الثــورة
@Adham_Eldeeb: Alaa's freedom – in my opinion – is a victory for the will of the revolution.

One day later, the revolution scored another victory, this time by Samira Ibrahim. Samira (@SamiraIbrahim4) is one of the 18 girls who were arrested during the March protests in Tahrir Square to have virginity tests administered on them, and has since filed a lawsuit against the Egyptian military for sexual assault. The military initially denied that the virginity tests took place, however the court ruled today that the virginity tests on women in the custody of the military is illegal. The importance of the verdict is that it confirms that the assaults actually took place.

@sallyzohney: Case approved and they admit the #VirginityTests against the girls :) road is long though #NoSCAF #SupportSamira

On the other hand, the court has made any further similar assaults illegal.

@nellyali: Forced virginity testing is now officially ILLEGAL in #Egypt! Thank you, #SamiraIbrahim #SupportSamira

Victorious Samira IbrahimVictorious Samira Ibrahim

Photo by @HebaAfify

Egyptian writer Ibrahim Farghali saluted Samira's courage, especially in a society that makes it hard for a woman to admit being a victim to such assault, let alone file a lawsuit.

@IbrahimFarghali: The Beauty made the Victory over the Beast.. YES WE CAN

Finally, during a TV interview he made few hours after his release. Alaa pointed out that the revolution isn't just the demonstrations in Tahrir Square, but it's also about strikes, elections and legal victories.

@MeeMMaa: علاء: في مسارات كتير نمشي فيها، الانتخابات، المحاكم، الاضراب العام، الميدان، مطلوب مانتمسكش بمسار واحد فقط عشان مانخوفش الناس
@MeeMMaa: Alaa: There are different paths to go in such as elections, courts, general strikes and the protests in the square. And we shouldn't only focus on one path in order not to repel people away and loose them.

Egyptians are reclaiming their rights, one battle at a time. Stay tuned for more coverage from Egypt as the Egyptian revolution continues.

This post is part of our special coverage Egypt Revolution 2011.

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