The undersigned organizations and political parties condemn the judgment issued against rights lawyer Khaled Ali yesterday September 25 by the Doqqi Misdemeanor Court. Ali was sentenced to three months imprisonment (suspended) with a bail of LE 1000 pending appeal. We believe that the judgment against him is retribution for his active role in defending human rights against government abuses. The case was filed by lawyer Samir Sabry in January of this year, accusing Ali of public indecency after Ali and other lawyers won a ruling rescinding the Egyptian Government’s controversial maritime border agreement with Saudi Arabia, known as the Tiran and Sanafir Islands case. The judge who sentenced Ali, Ahmed Abd El-Gayed, is the head of the Doqqi Misdemeanor who last year sentenced demonstrators protesting the maritime border agreement to 5 years in prison and EGP 100,000 fine.
The undersigned parties believe that the judgment is politically motivated to preclude a presidential run for Khaled Ali, particularly since he has announced his potential candidacy in the coming 2018 presidential elections. The fabricated charges against Ali were prosecuted in a trial falling severely below the minimum threshold of fairness and neutrality, and the investigation and trial were marred by legal irregularities. The chief prosecutor refused, without providing a reason, Ali’s request to see a copy of the complaint and case file during his interrogation on May 23rd 2017. Ali consequently exercised his constitutional right to remain silent, landing him in jail for one day at the Doqqi Police Station. He was released the following day on a bail of LE 1,000 and the case was referred to trial.
During the trial, Ali’s right to defense was flagrantly violated, as were several other due process guarantees necessary for a fair trial. The court did not permit Ali’s lawyers to argue and mount their defense, and the judge issued the sentence abruptly without hearing several vital motions filed by the defense. According to lawyers who attended the trial sessions, the court did not allow the defense to cross-examine the expert committee about dubious video footage allegedly proving Ali committed public indecency. It also did not record the credentials of the alleged experts in the trial minutes, a measure necessary to enable the defendant to determine if these experts are in fact qualified for their appointed task. In another serious breach, the judge examined one of the prosecution witnesses in the absence of lawyers. It is important to note that the consulting committee formed pursuant to Ali’s request confirmed that the video footage—the primary evidence against Ali—had been tampered with.
Yesterday’s judgment against Khaled Ali further exposes the deterioration of the justice system in Egypt, where the judicial process is politicized and the most basic precepts of justice undermined. The judiciary, rather than being an impartial and independent arbiter of justice and the rule of law, has become a weapon of the executive to retaliate against political opponents. If confirmed on appeal, the verdict will disqualify Khaled Ali from candidacy in the 2018 presidential elections.
Socialist Popular Alliance Party Socialist Popular Alliance Party
Bread And Freedom Party
Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
The Egyptian Association For Community Participation Enhancement
Group of legal assistance for human rights
The Egyptian Observatory for Training and Consultation
Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights
Nadeem Centre for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence
ADALAH Center for Rights & Freedoms
Hisham Mubarak Law Center
Heliopolies for Political Development and Human Rights Researchers
Mesryoon Against Religious Discrimination
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