PEN Austria’s Writers-In-Prison Committee voices its deep concern for Alaa Abd el Fattah, Honorary Member of PEN Austria. The Egyptian blogger is imprisoned since 2013 serving a five years sentence for participating in a so called “unauthorized demonstration”. Alaa Abd El Fattah was one of the very first bloggers in Arabic and the first to aggregate blogs coming out of Egypt. He has always worked for freedom of expression whether in his writing or in his work designing open-source digital software. On December 30, 2017 new charges will be brought up against him, he is accused of “insulting the judiciary”. He is being charged because of a tweet he posted in 2013 criticizing the judiciary as “biased” and implying that judges are “taking orders from the military”. In this tweet he peacefully exercised his right to freedom of expression, guaranteed in Art.19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations. We definitely appeal to the Egyptian authorities to immediately drop all new charges against our Honorary Member Alaa Abd el Fattah.
December 7, 2017 PEN Austria, Writers-in-Prison Committee