Alaa Abd El Fattah interrogated for ‘insulting the judiciary’

Leftist activist Alaa Abd El Fattah was questioned in prison on Sunday about a report filed in April 2014 by the former head of the Supreme Judicial Council, who accused him of “insulting the judiciary,” the Free Alaa Facebook page reported.

The report was based on a collection of tweets and Facebook posts showcased by former judge and current head of the Zamalek Club Mortada Mansour on Lamees al-Hadidy’s talk show in April.

This is the fifth case against Abd El Fattah since the beginning of 2013.

Head of the Cairo Appeals Prosecution Wael Gamal questioned Abd El Fattah at Mazra’ Prison facility, where he is currently serving a five-year sentence in the Shura Council case.

New accusations against Abd El Fattah include: deliberately spreading false news to disturb the public peace and terrorize citizens, insulting the judiciary, calling for protests and for the overthrow of the Egyptian regime through personal tweets, as well as deliberately harassing others through the misuse of communication devices.

According to a statement published on the Free Alaa Facebook page, Abd El Fattah “practiced his constitutional right to remain silent during questioning,” and requested it be documented “that his silence is in response to not trusting that the investigation will be impartially conducted, especially since the report was filed by the head of the Supreme Judicial Council.”

The statement added that Abd El Fattah said he “had other reasons to not trust the integrity of the investigation, which he chose not to disclose for fear of further oppression and persecution.”

Abd El Fattah concluded that he felt his testimony “would be used against him for reasons unrelated to the case,” to conform with “general politics and the identity of those who moved the case.”

Lawyer Mahmoud Belal, who attended the questioning, told Mada Masr that this is “yet another step in the judicial harassment of Abd El Fattah.” He cited Saturday’s first court session, where Abd El Fattah was accused of “insulting the judiciary” in another case, along with 24 other defendants.

Sunday’s accusations are not to be taken lightly, and it seems like they are moving forward with them,” Belal said.

One of the accusations against Abd El Fattah, according to Belal, is incitement to overthrow the regime, which could lead to further jail time.

“We are yet to be allowed to read the prosecution’s papers to be able to assess the gravity of the situation, but all the accusations read during the questioning are arbitrary and could be interpreted within the scope of many provisions of the law,” he clarified.

In a Facebook post, Abd El Fattah’s sister Mona Seif criticized the accusations, stating that “Their whole case relies on tweets, Facebook posts and comments made by others on Alaa’s posts, which Mansour collected for the episode.”

“During the peak of state violations, where a week doesn’t go by without news of a citizen’s death because of bad healthcare inside prisons, attacks on student movements, torture in detention facilities and overcrowding inside police stations, not to mention all the explosions … The judicial system is dedicating a considerable portion of their energy to harassing one person over tweets,” said Seif.

“Truthfully, [the state’s] dedication to injustice and pettiness is the biggest insult to the judiciary,” she concluded.

Abd El Fattah is currently awaiting a verdict in another case, accusing him of “insulting the Interior Ministry” for “praying against his captors” during his detention in prison.

On May 11, the Court of Cassation rejected his appeal of the one year suspended sentence he received in the case related to burning former presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq’s electoral headquarters in May 2012.

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