The trial for reporter Ahmad Abu Deraa was postponed to Sunday by the military court of Ismailia after the defense asked for a period to inspect documents and charges.
Mahmoud Rady, part of the United Group -Attorneys at Law, an attorney group defending Abu Deraa, explained that the military judge presiding over the trial has postponed it to Wednesday, and clarified that the defense will “adhere to its plea that the military court is of no jurisdiction and will ask that the accused be tried by a civil court.”
He also explained that the “only two pleas of the defense were the postponing to inspect the documents and pleading against the jurisdiction of the military court with no other pleas at the present moment in time.”
The military spokesman, Ahmed Ali, commented on Abu Deraa’s detention, explaining that “he is not part of the press syndicate and is being charged with intentionally spreading wrong information where he falsely claimed thathe military has demolished a mosque in Rafah, extracted families from Sheikh Zuweid area and has targeted women and children.”
Ali explained in a press conference that Abu Deraa was arrested in a military area not authorized to civilians,” while Rady clarified that one of the charges is “presenting contradictory outcomes to the Sinai military security campaign.”
Answering a question about the reason behind the defendant’s trial by a military court, Ali claimed that Abu Deraa’s “accusations fall under the jurisdiction of a military court and have nothing to do with a civil court…if he is innocent he will be acquitted and if he is guilty he will be charged, no one is above the law.”
The Award-winning Sinai journalist, Ahmed Abu Deraa, was detained on 4 September within a military area. The recipient of the 2013 European Union’s Samir Kassir Award for Freedom of the Press works for newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm and ONTV news channel.
Previously, Reporters Without Borders also issued a statement on 6 September demanding “the immediate and unconditional release of Ahmad Abu Deraa.”
The Committee to Protect Journalists released a statement announcing that “Egyptian authorities should halt their campaign of harassment on local and international journalists seeking to cover the ongoing political crisis in the country.”
The CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney explained that “the authorities must stop this attempt at quashing independent and critical reporting. They can start by freeing all journalists in prison or under arrest.”
Al-Ahram reported that 25 journalists and activists were present outside the courthouse in Ismailia demanding his release.