CAIRO: The Cairo Criminal Court adjourned to Nov.17 the trial of political activist Alaa Abd El Fattah and 24 co-defendants in the case of the Shura Council protests, which took place in November 2013.
Defense lawyer Khaled Ali requested a release on bail, while Abd El Fattah spoke of the poor detention circumstances and violations of prisoner’s rights, the Freedom to the Brave movement in support of political detainees stated Tuesday on its official Facebook page.
Abd El Fattah and his co-defendants were sentenced to 15 years in jail in absentia last June for breaching the 2013 Protest Law, in addition to a fine of 100,000 EGP ($13,900) each, with 5-year police parole after they have served their time in jail.
The verdict was controversial and contested by lawyers because Abd El Fattah was standing right outside court on that day and was not called in to enter, or as his supporters claimed, was “denied entry.”
Abd El Fattah took a “selfie” photo in front of the court before one of his trials in October, “to avoid another ‘in absentia’ ruling,” he posted on Twitter Oct. 27.
In the meantime, the Administrative Court postponed another case appealing to Abd El Fattah’s travel ban order to Dec. 9. Authorities have banned Abd El Fattah from traveling abroad as he is on trial in a case of “insulting the judiciary.”
The case dates back to January 2013 and involves 25 defendants including former president Mohamed Morsi, several Muslim Brotherhood figures, activists, politics professor Amr Hamzawy, and some journalists. The offense was committed in public speech, media and social media, Youm7 reported in October of this year, after the court resumed the case.
On Oct.2 Abd El Fattah was sentenced to a year in prison for insulting the Minister of Interior during a court session.
Abd El Fattah was released from temporary detention Sept.15 after a controversial court session five days earlier that turned public opinion in his favor; the prosecution officers had screened personal video footage of Abd El Fattah and his family dancing at a family gathering as evidence in court.
Police had stormed Abd El Fattah’s house to arrest him on Nov. 28 2013, and seized a number of personal belongings, including his laptop. It was a video of his wife and son shown in court.
Abd El Fattah and his co-defendants Mohamed Nouby and Wael Metwaly were each released pending trial on a 5,000 EGP ($700) bail. It was the second release on bail for Abd El Fattah in the same case, as the previous one occurred in March, on a 10,000 EGP bail.
Additional reporting by Omneya el-Mougy.