CAIRO: Judge Nagy Shehata, known for presiding over high-level cases include activists and Muslim Brotherhood members, does not talk about politics, however as an Egyptian citizen, he “inclines to President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi,” he told Al-Watan newspaper in a Thursday interview.
“I should not talk in politics because a judge has only the court and his home, not more or less,” Shehata, the head of the Cairo Criminal Court, said Thursday in another interview with Mehwar TV Channel.
He also denied having a Facebook account, and said the one circulated under his name is “fabricated,” and “meant to defame his image” and force him to step aside from the cases. The alleged account was posting opinions against activists who are standing trial before Shehata.
Lawyer Mahmoud Belal told The Cairo Post Saturday that when Shehata says he supports Sisi, “that’s him [Shehata] disclosing his orientations, because he is still a judge.”
Alleged stance against activists
A decision was issued Nov. 22 by the Lawyers’ Syndicate to ban assigning defense council to the 2011 Cabinet clashes case, in which Shehata is the presiding judge, due to what they said as “predominance of the court and its precedence over the defense’s right.” A syndicate statement added that accusing the defense or underestimating them is “not acceptable from any judicial or executive official.”
Lawyer Khaled Ali, a defense lawyer of Ahmed Doma, one of the accused, was referred to the prosecution for “insulting the court” Nov. 12. The referral was preceded by a verbal altercations between Ali and the judge, where Ali found Shehata’s remarks, in favor of the police and the military and against the defendants in the case.
On Dec. 9, Doma himself was also sentenced to three years in jail and fined 10,000 EGP ($1,400) for “insulting judiciary,” which has been commonly added as a charge against defendants. Doma reportedly said during his defense that he does not trust “the justice of this court,” as he sees the case was politicized.
Shehata said in his interview to Mehwar TV that Doma was audacious to him when “[Doma] told me, you are an enemy to the January 25 Revolution.” Doma also complained about the glass dock inside which he attends the trial.
“I am punishing him [Doma] for insulting the judiciary not for anything else….and it is not personal,” added Shehata.
However, lawyer Mahmoud Belal said that Shehata was acting from a personal bias from Doma, noting Shehata’s quip to Al-Watan that Doma was being treated like Gandhi the press.
Shehata has been under scrutiny from Brotherhood supporters after he issued a death sentence to 185 persons in Dec. 2. The defendants were accused of killing police officers in 2013 in Kerdasa, Giza.
He told the paper that he had received a number of death threats and claimed he was targeted by bomb on the Ring Road.
Shehata also said that security guards were assigned to escort him since he ruled to acquit 13 officers from killing protesters in Giza in 2011.
Shehata rejected to be named the “man of death sentences” as he believes some call him, saying that this is an accusation of injustice. He added that the death sentence is “the only court ruling that is issued by consensus,” and it is not an individual opinion.
He said that he did not take sides in politically-charged cases, and referenced the the Al-Jazeera journalists’ case, noting that one of the defendants was the son of the Brotherhood leader Mohamed el-Beltagy “and he was acquitted due to lack of evidence.”