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Hussein Tallal, Associated Press
Egypt’s most prominent activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah, left, walks with his mother Laila Soueif, a university professor who is an also an activist, outside a court that convicted 23 activists of staging an illegal demonstration and sentenced them each to three years in jail, in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014. Among the 23 is Sanaa Seif, who hails from a family of longtime rights campaigners, including her late father Ahmed Seif al-Dawla and brother Alaa Abdel-Fattah. Another defendant is Yara Sallam, a prominent rights lawyer. Sunday's verdicts, which can be appealed, comes at a time when Egypt is swept by nationalist sentiments following a dramatic surge in attacks blamed on Islamic militants on troops and security forces in the Sinai Peninsula while witnessing a smear campaign targeting many of the secular pro-democracy campaigners behind the 2011 uprising.

CAIRO — An Egyptian court has ordered the detention of one of the country's most prominent pro-democracy activists at the start of his retrial for breaking a draconian law on demonstrations.

Alaa Abdel-Fattah was convicted in June for organizing an unauthorized demonstration in November 2013 and assaulting a police officer. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison, but was granted a retrial in August. He was freed on bail the following month.

Abdel-Fattah's detention on Monday comes one day after his younger sister Sanaa Seif was imprisoned for three years, also for breaking the demonstrations law.

The siblings come from a family of prominent activists. Their father, the late Ahmed Seif al-Islam, was a longtime rights lawyer who was repeatedly imprisoned. Their sister Mona is also an activist.