Mahmoud Rihan, member of the independent syndicate of Cairo International Airport, has been acquitted, according to ECESR lawyers and the defense team. He was charged with insulting the President of the Republic, and with posting allegedly false news and statements likely to disturb public security on his personal account on “Facebook”.
Al-Nozha Misdemeanors Court acquitted Rihan today. The national security had detained him since 10 November and was investigated at the airport on his political affiliation and the opinions posted on his Facebook page. The Public Prosecutor’s Office remanded him in custody and urgently committed him for trial after interrogation without the presence of his lawyers. His lawyers were not allowed access to the case papers. The appeal magistrate renewed his detention on Thursday, Nov.13th, and once more the Public Prosecutor refused the appeal lodged against the decision of detention renewal. To the lawyers’ surprise, he was referred to an urgent hearing on Thursday, November 20, before the same court that renewed the incarceration order. On December 4, the defense team, including ECESR lawyers, succeeded in getting an acquittal decision.
ECESR has previously issued a statement condemning such practices against the right of defendants to be defended, and the regime’s orientation to hunt down social networking pages and filing cases against their owners. Needless to say, these cases represent a violation of the right of expression guaranteed by the 2014 Constitution.