Egypt: Latest Hearing in the Case of Alaa Abdel Fattah

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The Special Chamber at Tora Police Compound in Cairo on December 27th heard from Alaa Abd El Fattah’s lawyer, Taher Abul-Nasr, in the ongoing Shura Council case, in which Alaa Abd El Fattah and 24 other activists have been charged under Egypt’s controversial 2013 Protest Law.

Taher Abul-Nasr accused the Egyptian authorities of violating Alaa Abd El Fattah’s rights throughout the case, starting when security forces stormed his home, unlawfully seizing his personal laptop and that of his wife’s, Manal Hassan. Abul-Nasr highlighted the lack of evidence provided by the Prosecution to prove that the defendants were guilty of the crimes of which they have been charged.

He reserved the right of the defendants to appeal the authenticity of a report provided by Colonel Tahoun, who accuses Alaa of beating him up and stealing his walkie-talkie, which he suggested was highly suspect and unreliable. He said that two handwriting styles were clearly visible in the report, one squeezed in what looked like a previously blank space in the report. Abul-Nasr said: “The prosecution is not putting up an honest fight.”He added that the mobile phone records show Tahoun was talking on his mobile at the time he claims Alaa Abd El Fattah attacked him.

He also highlighted the lack of consistency shown by the Prosecution in the treatment of those who attended the demonstration outside Shoura Council on 26 November 2013. He referred to several witnesses who had provided evidence to the Court, particularly three women who had been arrested, detained and then released on the day of the protest. He also referred to a number of witnesses who had informed the court that they called for the demonstration against the military trials of civilians, including Alaa’s sister Mona Seif, which undermines the Prosecution’s case that it was Alaa Abd El Fattah who organised the protest.

The defence pleadings are due scheduled to continue on 10 January 2014, when the court will hear from Khaled Ali, another of the defendants’ lawyers.

Background to Case:

Alaa Abd El Fattah is a prominent activist who was a prominent figure in the 2011 revolution.

On 11 June 2014, he was sentenced to 15 years in prison for “participating in a demonstration”, “assaulting a police officer” and “calling for protests”.

He was initially arrested on 28 November 2013 and held in pretrial detention for 115 days before the first hearing in his case took place. He was held in detention again for a further 96 days between 11 June and 15 September 2014. He is now back in pretrial detention and has been in custody since 28 October 2014.

Alaa Abd El Fattah is currently on his 55th day of a hunger strike.

A recently published EMHRN Trial Observation Report on Alaa Abdel Fattah’s Case finds that “[Abdel Fattah’s] right to personal liberty and right not to be arbitrarily deprived of his liberty have been breached as well as his right to challenge the lawfulness of his detention without delay.”

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