CAIRO, Nov. 15 (Aswat Masriya) - Egypt's administrative court Sunday set a January 17 verdict date for a law suit demanding that activist Wael Ghonim be stripped of his Egyptian nationality on accusations of being an agent.
Ghonim found himself in the limelight in February 2011 after it emerged that he was the administrator of a Facebook page that called for protests on January 25, 2011 which helped spark 18 days of protest ultimately leading to the ouster of then-president Hosni Mubarak, plunging Egypt into years of political turmoil.
Many in Egypt initially hailed the tech-savvy activist, a computer engineer who worked for Google at the time of the uprising, as a hero. Ghonim was among the many arrested by police during the deadly violence that erupted nationwide on the first days of the uprising. He made an emotional appearance on Dream TV following his release after 12 days in custody.
In the interview, the visibly distressed Ghonim broke down and at one point said, "I am not a hero ... the heroes are the ones who were in the streets. The heroes are the ones who went to the protests..."
In the aftermath of the uprising many in the media claimed that Ghonim, like many other pro-democracy activists, was backed by foreign entities.
The Facebook page "We are all Khaled Said", which Ghonim ran, was started in memory of a young man who was brutally beaten to death while in police custody in July 2010. His death became the rallying cry for rising anti-authoritarian sentiment exacerbated by trumped-up claims that Said had choked on a hashish wrap, despite the emergence of pictures clearly showing he had suffered substantial physical trauma.
The Facebook page has not been updated since July 3, 2013 when then-president Mohamed Morsi was removed from power by the military.
In a January 2014 announcement on his personal Facebook page, Ghonim said he is staying away from politics. The State Commissioners Authority has recommended that the court reject the case filed against him because of "absence of [public] interest."
The authority said in a report that the Egyptian Cabinet alone has the right to revoke a citizen's nationality based on a proposal from the interior minister, if the Cabinet sees this as serving the country's supreme interests.
A version of this article originally appeared in Aswat Masriya