Revolutionary blogger freed in Egypt

Alaa Abd El-Fattah leaves police headquarters in Cairo, Egypt, after his release  Sunday.

Story highlights

  • Alaa Abd El-Fattah tells CNN that military rulers must face trials
  • A judge freed him pending further investigation
  • El-Fattah is banned from traveling
  • He had a son while incarcerated
A prominent Egyptian blogger freed by an Egyptian judge on Sunday lambasted the military government and said "nothing has changed" since President Hosni Mubarak was ousted from power in February.
"It's not the end of the case, that I am out. The real criminals, the generals of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, are still at large and they must be tried," said Alaa Abd El-Fattah, whose case is pending further investigation. "I have been released, but there are thousands that remain in prison. "
El-Fattah, who has become a focal point of tensions between protesters and Egypt's military rulers, headed directly to Cairo's Tahrir Square, flanked by dozens of activists. "Down with military rule," the group chanted. "The people want to execute Marshall Tantawi."
Mohamed Hussein Tantawi is field marshal of the supreme council, Egypt's military rulers in the wake of former President Hosni Mubarak's ouster in popular protests at the beginning of the year.
Judge Tharwat Hamad, representing the prosecutor's office, ordered El-Fattah's release while authorities look into the clashes where he was arrested in late October.
"He is banned from traveling and no court date has been set yet," said Adel Saeed, official spokesman for the General Prosecutor.
El-Fattah is charged with resisting arrest, inciting violence against the army, killing members of the armed forces, attempting to storm the government TV building, and destroying Armed Forces buildings, Saeed said.
The 29-year-old blogger, who was outspoken for years against Mubarak's regime, was imprisoned October 30 amid battles between the military and pro-democracy protesters struggling to pave a clear path for their ongoing revolution.
El-Fattah refused to answer questions of his interrogators ahead of a military tribunal and was detained originally for 15 days, which was extended for a month until his release.
His sister Mona Seif, featured in a CNN documentary called "iRevolution: Online Warriors Of The Arab Spring," is a prominent activist and founding member of a group lobbying against trying civilians under military tribunals.
"I am so happy," said Seif, who told CNN the whole family was waiting for him outside Cairo's Security Directorate.
"He has been in jail unlawfully for close to two months," Seif said, adding that the family was "glad this judge was decent, unlike the corrupt judges who handled the case before."
Egyptian "Twitteratis" celebrated el-Fattah's release. The hashtag #AlaaisFree started trending globally.
A computer software developer, el-Fattah participated in the January 25 uprisings that toppled Mubarak. Since then he has been speaking against the country's military rulers.
The Supreme Council says it will hand over power once a new government is in place. But many protesters fear the military is seeking to maintain a tight grip on the country.
El-Fattah was among the activists who pointed fingers at the military after their attack on a Coptic Christian protest on October 9 that left 27 people dead at the epicenter of the clashes outside Egypt's State TV building known as Maspero.
His detention, along with 27 men charged in the same case, sparked international and local support, as many activists had identified with his work for years.
In June, he founded and moderated " Tweet Nadwa," a discussion based on the rules of Twitter conversations in which attendees raised political questions using only 140 characters.
CNN attended the first such gathering, at which Alaa moderated a topic revolving around Egypt's future, which was broadcast online. The symposium was also held in New York, moderated by Egyptians living in the United States.
El-Fattah has spoken around the world since the toppling of Mubarak, including in Britain, Tunisia, South Africa and the United States. When his family received the prosecutor's order summoning him for questioning last October, he was in San Francisco speaking to university students.
Solidarity protests and sit-ins against his detention took place outside Egyptian embassies. Stencils of his portrait have been sprayed all over the walls of Tahrir Square, labeling him a hero.
His wife Manal had their first baby while he was in prison. They named the boy Khaled, after Khaled Saeed, a man killed by Egyptian police. Saeed's death sparked outrage among the opposition that helped lead to the uprising on January 25, which culminated in Mubarak's ouster February 11.
El-Fattah's family started a Twitter account for the new baby and gave it the handle @Khalaaa, which now has more than 3,000 followers.
When his wife visited him during his incarceration, he gave her a letter addressing Egyptian activists, which was published in a local newspaper.
In it, he said the Supreme Council had "hijacked" the revolution. And he compared his latest imprisonment with the jail time he served in 2006 during Mubarak's era for views he posted on his blog against the regime at the time.
"I never expected to repeat the experience of five years ago," El-Fattah wrote. "After a revolution that deposed the tyrant, I go back to his jails?"