Alaa Abd El Fattah, left and his wife Manal Hassan. Alaa was arrested by the Supreme Council of the Armed forces on Sunday. Photograph: AP
There are two reasons why this could turn into a cause célèbre. One is a growing recognition that the military, after initially supporting the revolution, has been back-pedalling ever since and in some ways is even more repressive that the old Mubarak regime. Military trials of civilians such as Alaa are the most obvious sign of that.
The other factor is Alaa’s own celebrity status which makes it easier to mobilise a campaign – unlike several other cases (Maikel Nabil and Essam Ali Atta, for example) which have been slower to take off. Alaa also has the benefit of name-recognition outside Egypt: every foreign journalist who covered the January uprising has probably heard of him, if not actually met him.