Activists, public figures, and ordinary citizens have taken to social media to demand the immediate release of activist Taher Mokhtar.
The Internet has been abuzz with news of activist Taher Mokhtar’s arrest on January 16th, 2016. Mokhtar, who is also a medical doctor and a member of the Doctor’s Syndicate Freedoms Committee, has been charged, along with two of his colleagues, with plotting to topple the regime and instigating protests.
Following reports that the prosecution questioned the detained activist regarding whether he had participated in “the violent events of January 25th, 2011,” Twitter and Facebook caught fever as #أنا_شاركت_في_ثورة_يناير (Arabic for "I participated in the January revolution") began trending heavily across the platforms on Saturday January 16th.
Longtime activist and secretary general of the Doctors’ Syndicate, Mona Mina, called for the launch of said hashtag campaign on her Facebook page in response to the arrest, saying that Mokhtar is being punished for the syndicate’s efforts to provide medical care for detainees, and that formally accusing someone of participating in the events of January 25th 2011 is a “disaster” since there were millions of protesters. “I suggest we launch hashtag #أنا_شاركت_في_ثورة_يناير to spare the authorities the effort of searching for the ‘criminals’ who participated in the revolution,” she wrote.
The hashtag reached 10,000 tweets within hours of its launch, with activists, ordinary citizens, and political and public figures all putting in their two cents - most notably political satirist Bassem Youssef, politician Hamdeen Sabahi, and activist Esraa AbdulFattah. The campaign seems to be gaining momentum, especially after a Facebook page with the same name was launched yesterday - January 17th - to explain the story behind the hashtag. The page also published a joint statement by public figures and activists calling for the immediate release of Mokhtar.
(Photo credit: MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images)