CAIRO — Egyptian authorities released a prominent blogger Tuesday after he refused to cooperate with prosecutors over allegations of instigating violence against the country’s most powerful Islamist group in comments posted on social media.
The blogger, Alaa Abdel-Fattah, was freed following his demand that an investigative judge take over his case, according to his lawyer Malek Adly. His attorneys are awaiting a decision on the request, which amounts to a snub to the prosecutor’s office by questioning its independence.
Abdel-Fattah handed himself in to authorities earlier Tuesday, a day after the country’s prosecutor general ordered his arrest along with four other activists also accused of inciting violence. The arrest warrants stoked concerns among Egypt’s opposition that President Mohammed Morsi, an Islamist, was using the prosecutor’s office to go after political opponents.
The allegations against the activists are rooted in clashes between supporters and opponents of Morsi outside the headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood in east Cairo last week that left 200 people injured in the worst bout of political violence here in months.
Activists say the arrest warrants, which closely followed a televised address by Morsi in which he warned that he would soon take exceptional measures in the face of violence, could herald a wave of arrests of opposition leaders.
Abdel-Fattah and the other activists questioned the independence of the prosecutor general, saying he is beholden to Morsi.