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Alaa Abdel Fattah fined after request for bench recusal denied - Daily News Egypt

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Alaa Abdel Fattah fined after request for bench recusal denied

Activists worry that politicised verdicts will affect the upcoming appeal in the case of 12 Azhar students sentenced for 17 years


Alaa Abdel Fattah is accused of violating the Protest Law during the No Military Trial protest organised in front of Al-Shura Council on 26 November, 2013 (Photo By Aaron T.Rose\DNE File)
Alaa Abdel Fattah is accused of violating the Protest Law during the No Military Trial protest organised in front of Al-Shura Council on 26 November, 2013
(Photo By Aaron T.Rose\DNE File)

The Cairo Court of Appeals denied Saturday a request filed by renowned activist and blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah for the recusal of the bench in his case and fined him EGP 5,000.

The activist demanded the recusal of the bench because he and his lawyers previously filed complaints against the judge in charge of his case, who Abdel Fattah accused of participating in the forging of the 2005 parliamentary election results.

On his social media account Abdel Fattah criticised the court order and attributed the decision to be “in line with the politicised judicial decisions.”

Abdel Fattah is accused, along with 24 others, of violating the Protest Law, “thuggery”, vandalism, illegal assembly, attacking a police officer and stealing his radio, among other charges related to the protest against military trials held in front of the Shura Council on 26 November.

The defendants were all arrested on the day of the protest, except for Abdel Fattah, who was arrested at his home by special forces on 28 November.

On 4 December, 22 of the defendants got released on EGP 5,000 bail, while Abdel Fattah and Ahmed Abdel Rahman were released after their first trial session on 4 March on EGP 10,000 bail.

In a statement released Sunday, the Freedom for the Brave campaign expressed its concerns about the verdict of the Gamaleya Court of Appeals on 20 May in the case of Al-Azhar students who were sentenced to 17 years and EGP 64,000 bail.

The charges against the 12 students include possession of melee weapons, illegal assembly, assaulting state employees and show of force during a protest by Students Against the Coup, a group sympathising with ousted president Mohamed Morsi.

The campaign perceives the verdict as “unfair and politicised”, adding that they believe that “innocent students will be used as scapegoats in the war between the current regime and the Muslim Brotherhood.”

The campaign premised their statement on the fact that the verdict violates article number 32 of the criminal law, which states: “If one action constitutes several crimes, the punishment adopted for the crime should constitute the harshest verdict alone.” In this case, the harshest verdict would be for illegal assembly, with a maximum sentence of three years, not 17.

On Sunday, the Qasr Al-Nil Court of Appeals ordered the release of the 15 suspects accused of belonging to the Ultras Revolutionary group, who were sentenced on 22 February to two years of hard labour, EGP 50,000 fine and two years of probation. The defendants were “arbitrarily arrested among a larger group of 33 at a public park near downtown, Cairo,” said Ahmed Othman, a lawyer from the Association of Freedom of Thought and Expression who represented the defendants.

He added that he expects his clients to be released without paying the fine because they have been in prison for more than three months.

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