Alber Saber, the blogger on trial for contempt of religion, will continue to be held on remand as Al-Marg Court on Wednesday adjourned his case to 14 November.
“We asked for Alber’s release on bail among our demands today but the court did not respond yet,” said Ahmed Ezzat, Saber’s defence lawyer and head of the legal division of the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression. “The fact that the case was adjourned means that it probably won’t be granted though.”
The prosecution accuses him of “contempt of the Islamic and Christian religions, insulting the divine being, making fun of religious practices and prophets” and has demanded the court deliver the strictest penalty; five years imprisonment.
Independent lawyers suing Saber for nominal damages said he “committed heresy and blasphemy” and also demanded he be given the maximum sentence.
Saber’s defence team asked for his official medical record from the forensics department to prove he had been assaulted in prison.
Saber was attacked in Al-Marg police station following his initial arrest. Inmates cut his throat with a razor blade after a police officer told them Saber had insulted religion.
A report by Ezzat claims, “[at] Al-Marg police station [he] was taken to a room that had about five other inmates. Then a young officer entered the room and told the five inmates that Alber is the one who distributed the video defaming the prophet and that he burnt the Quran and insulted all religions and ordered them to attack him,” it read.
“They beat him, four of them tied him up and totally paralyzed him while the fifth took out a razor and hit him with it in the neck resulting in a cut wound [sic]. Then he was taken to another room that had more than 20 people who beat him up and then forced him to stand by the toilet door until morning preventing him from sitting down,” it went on.
The defence also asked the technical report that accompanied the investigation. The prosecution had searched Saber’s numerous online social media accounts and computer equipment before uncovering the CD that contained the video for which he is being tried.
In the 39-minute video Saber argues that the clergy for all religions spread fanaticism and that there is no god. Saber was initially arrested after a mob gathered outside his building and intended to break into his house.
His mother, Kariman Meseeha, called the police for protection but they arrested him instead in what appeared to be a coordinated plan with the mob. He was accused of spreading the Innocence of Muslims film on his Facebook account but this was later proven false.
Police went back to his home two days later and searched it when no one was home. They seized several books and CDs. Meseeha was threatened with burning both her house and the nearby church and was forced to leave her home.
Ezzat said the defence also asked the court to call in the witnesses, which include two men who reported Saber to the police, the policeman who arrested him, and the one who interrogated him at the police station.
Supporters of Saber came to the trial with signs that read “stop the inquisition” and “freedom in Egypt = prison” while members of his family donned black shirts that said “Free Alber.”