Al-Manshiya Appeals Court set a verdict session for 15 June in political activist Hassan Mustafa’s appeal of a two-year prison sentence.
Mustafa was arrested in January and sentenced to two years in prison in March on charges of assaulting a prosecutor, which the activist’s lawyers appealed in April.
Protesters gathered by the Alexandria Criminal Court building on Saturday in support of Mustafa.
The official prosecution report accused Mustafa of “causing a prosecutor’s cheek to turn red” by slapping him, according to the official case report.
Mustafa allegedly slapped the prosecutor as he accompanied human rights lawyers and other activists to Al-Manshiya Court Complex on 21 January to check on detained protesters arrested after clashes that followed the trial of police officers accused of killing protesters on 25 January.
The prosecutor Mustafa allegedly assaulted, Ahmed Darwish, is a member of the Manshiya prosecution, the same prosecution office that investigated Mustafa. His lawyers claim this is illegal and a conflict of interest.
Article 46 of the Investigation Law states that if an individual prosecutor or the prosecution office is part of case, whether as the plaintiff or defendant, an independent judge should conduct the investigation.
No judges were summoned from the Ministry of Justice for Mustafa’s case and the prosecution conducted the investigation, which Mostafa’s lawyer, Mohamed Abdel Aziz, said was a clear conflict of interest.
All the witnesses who testified that Mustafa slapped the prosecutor in the initial investigation by the prosecution reversed their testimony in the Saturday session, saying that Mustafa did not slap him.
Witnesses included a prosecution clerk, two prosecution office employees and a police officer. All of them reversed their earlier testimony.
Amnesty International previously expressed concerns that Mustafa is facing trumped up charges and called on the Egyptian government to grant him a fair trial.
“Should Hassan Mustafa be imprisoned solely for his peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression or other human rights, Amnesty International would consider him to be a prisoner of conscience, and call for his immediate and unconditional release,” the statement added.