CAIRO: Cairo Criminal Court adjourned the trial of 20 defendants being tried in the Marriott Case to June 16 with no bail to hear the defense of the remaining defendants, according to Egypt’s correspondent for The Guardian Patrick Kingsley who live tweeted the trial Thursday.
The 20 defendants are accused of inciting violence, committing “terrorist” acts, and falsifying news on the Qatar-based news network Al Jazeera.
For the first hour of the trial, national and the international media were prevented from covering the trial. After waiting for almost three hours until the court attended, the prosecution gave those pleading on trial then they allowed journalists to attend, Youm7 reported.
Journalists started to tweet the prosecutions pleads as live updates, freelance journalist John Beck said and that the prosecution said on its pleading that the “defendants filmed Tahrir Square on June 30, 2013 to give the impression of very few people there.”
Beck also added that the prosecution claimed that Peter Greste had added footage of clashes to his reports, targeting the fall of the Egyptian state. The prosecution added that Al Jazeera team reported “horrific sexual violence” in Tahrir Square to show Egypt in bad light.
Freelance journalist Jess Rosenfeld also live tweeted that the prosecution, asked for the maximum sentence for defendants after claiming that Greste reported on clashes with police to bring down the Egyptian state and to harm Egyptian unity.
Kingsley live tweeted that defense lawyer Khaled Abu Bakr said that “content of evidence did not corroborate prosecution’s argument. Trial’s procedures were flawed.”
He also tweeted: “lawyers were not allowed to attend all viewings of evidence. Prosecution key witnesses contradicted themselves.”
Abu Bakr said according to Kingsley’s source, key witnesses’ report was imprecise; the pool of video evidence changed between sessions. “This trial should not be happening in the first place.”
He further added that the case is just a “media show” because the accused journalists were filmed and appeared on TV before proving their involvement.
The prosecution representative said the fifth defendant Mohamed Fahmy acknowledged in the public prosecution investigations that “they were concentrating on the filed lawsuits against satirist Bassem Youssef and he is a persona non grata.”
“The videos showed what they were doing through lying, misleading, and attempting to destabilize the state stability,” Fahmy added.
But the defense said “if you go and film someone saying: ‘down with the president,’ that does not mean that you agree with it.”
“Defense: This is not a trial for these defendants alone – this is a trial of all journalists,” Kingsley tweeted.
“We’ll see after all this is over who it was who actually harmed Egypt’s reputation: the prosecution or the journalists,” the defense told the court, Kingsley tweeted.