Egypt: Trial of Elaimy, Fouad, Moanis adjourned to Oct. 20

Lawyers of Ziad El-Elaimy, a former parliamentarian, and journalists Hisham Fouad and Hossam Moanis have finally been able to present their defense on Oct. 6, but the trial was adjourned to Oct. 20, according to Daarb.

The lawyers of former parliamentarian Ziad El-Elaimy, and journalists Hisham Fouad and Hossam Moanis finally presented their defense on October 6 following several postponements, according to Daarb news website in a report it published on October 7, 2021. However, the court subsequently adjourned the trial until October 20.

El-Elaimy, Fouad, and Moanis were arrested in June 2019 as part of the Hope Coalition case, in which authorities rounded up political activists, journalists, and human rights defenders—some of whom were planning a new political coalition to contest parliamentary elections the following year—and charged them with terrorism-related crimes.

In July of this year, the trio, all of whom have spent more than the legal maximum of two years in pretrial detention, were referred to trial before an emergency court on charges of spreading false news in Case 957/2021.

During their hearing on Wednesday, human rights lawyer Khaled Ali seized the opportunity to refute the bogus allegations leveled against the defendants and question the proceedings’ legality. The defense team’s arguments were praised by El-Elaimy’s mother, who was present at the hearing.

Ali declared the referral orders in the case to be invalid, as the orders claim that the crimes are “continuing” despite the defendants having spent the last 28 months behind bars. The defense also challenged the court’s authority to hear the case, stressed the lack of evidence against the defendants, and pointed out that the statute of limitations had expired for some of the alleged crimes.

Ali furthermore questioned the entire premise of the case, which is built around individuals with no common goal and includes alleged offenses committed at different times, with most of the “evidence” produced years after the supposed crimes.

The court ended by adjourning the trial for two weeks, as the final defendants in the case have not yet been able to present their defense.

Sadat’s IDG received in Washington

In the same context, US Department of State Spokesperson Ned Price on October 7 revealed that Yael Lempert, the acting assistant secretary for the department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, met with an International Dialogue Group delegation to discuss the Biden administration’s “ongoing concerns about human rights in Egypt.”

The International Dialogue Group, composed of Egyptian politicians and former government officials, was established in March and has since assumed a high-profile role lobbying for the release of political prisoners.

The delegation to Washington included the group’s head, Mohamed Anwar al-Sadat, and former ambassador and minister Moushira Khattab, both of whom were also appointed to the government’s National Council for Human Rights—Khattab as president—earlier this week.

Price stated that it is clear the Biden administration still possesses concerns related to human rights in Egypt and has “relayed those concerns directly to Egyptian authorities on any number of occasions.”

He added, “Such meetings can provide productive ways to engage on these concerns and … show United States support for Egypt in achieving the objectives set out in its own national human rights strategy which it launched last month.” Khattab and al-Sadat’s National Council for Human Rights is responsible for implementing that new strategy.