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Rights lawyer Khaled Ali denies charges of ‘public indecency’ in court session

In a statement made during a court session on Monday, former presidential candidate and rights lawyer Khaled Ali asserted that the “public indecency” charges brought forward against him are baseless, insisting that the “insulting hand gesture” he is accused of making goes against his ethics.

Ali faces charges of public indecency after he purportedly made a hand gesture deemed insulting to his opponents while celebrating a court case win in the legal battle around the maritime agreement between Egypt and Saudi Arabia, which ceded two Red Sea islands to the latter.

In remarks Ali made to a misdemeanor court on Monday, he vehemently denied making any insulting gestures, stating, “This is not my behavior nor my manners. I left the State Council after securing a legal victory. Passersby and the police officers were congratulating me, it does not make sense that I would use this gesture to insult anyone.”

A member of Ali’s defense team, lawyer Malek Adly, told Mada Masr that the court summoned Ali to attend today’s session, in which a video submitted by the prosecution was presented, as well as five videos of the same event submitted to the court by Ali’s defense team.

Adly explains that the defense team’s videos show Ali from five different angles, none of which include the gesture the human rights lawyer is accused of making. The defense asked the court for footage from the State Council security cameras where the maritime agreement ruling was announced, Adly added, and requested a technical report be conducted by a neutral and competent party, specifically an expert from the High Cinema Institute.

The defence also requested the testimony of the police officer in charge of investigations, saying, “The investigative report was entirely political and biased, focusing on Khaled Ali’s political and human rights activity, and did not include any information about the incident in question. The only evidence by the investigating officer is his security sources’ confirmation that he made the gesture, which makes the investigation biased, and we requested that the court summon him for questioning by the defense.”

Adly said the lawyers also asked for records identifying officers on duty at the State Council during the incident for further questioning.

The charges brought against Ali “require him to have been arrested in the act or have a complaint filed against him immediately after the incident, which did not happen,” Adly added. The prosecution summoned Ali on May 21 to question him about the events after the Supreme Administrative Court ruling on January 16, referring the case to trial four months after the original incident.

Ali appeared before the prosecution on May 23 demanding to see the complaint and evidence filed against him, but his request was denied. The prosecution detained Ali overnight, released him on LE1,000 bail the next day without further questioning and referring him to an urgent trial.

The next court session in the case is slated to take place on September 18, when a technical report by the state’s Egyptian Radio and Television Union on video evidence in the case will be presented.

Defense lawyer Negad al-Borai previously told Mada Masr that a conviction of public indecency could bar Ali from running in the 2018 presidential elections.

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