CAIRO: Judges at the Cairo Criminal Court recused themselves from continuing to hear the case known as the “Shura Council incident” from last November, allowing defendant Alaa Abdel Fattah to be released on bail Monday.
This comes after the last trial session held on Sept. 10, which stirred controversy over the prosecution’s use of personal video footage of Abdel Fattah seen widely as being irrelevant to the case. The prosecution officers responsible for the videos were themselves referred to the attorney general’s office for investigation for using the footage.
Police stormed Abdel Fattah’s house to arrest him on Nov. 28, and seized a number of personal belongings, including his laptop. It was a video of his wife and son shown in court, according to instant updates provided by attending lawyers and activists.
Abdel Fattah and his codefendants Mohamed Nouby and Wael Metwaly were each released pending trial on a 5,000 EGP ($700) bail. This the second release on bail for Abdel Fattah in the same case, as the previous one occurred in March, on a 10,000 EGP bail.
In May, Abdel Fattah had demanded a change in judges, claiming there was a personal conflict with one of the judges, as Abdel Fattah had previously filed a lawsuit against him accusing him of forgery during the 2005 presidential elections, but the court rejected this request.
Meanwhile, several activists celebrated the court decision and considered it a victory, not only for Abdel Fattah and his family, but also for those who oppose the 2013 Protest Law, under which the Shura Council suspects are being prosecuted.
An ongoing hunger strike campaign and rallies by various political and civil groups called the “Empty Stomach Battle” has been launched in solidarity with prisoners in Egypt held under the 2013 Protest Law. The Freedom for the Brave group supporting detainees has reported more than 20 political parties and rights groups have joined the campaign.
Meanwhile, activists will announce the start of yet another campaign against the 2013 Protest Law at the Press Syndicate on Wednesday afternoon, to be followed by a rally. Additionally, journalists on hunger strike at the syndicate have called for a meeting Thursday to discuss further means to pressure authorities to annul the law, according to the Freedom for the Brave’s official Facebook page.