DISCLAIMER: The following interview is a presentation of opinion that does not reflect the views of the Daily News Egypt or its affiliates.
Mohamed Hammouda started his career as a police officer in the narcotics department after graduating from the Police Academy with honours. A PhD holder from the University Pantheon-Sorbonne in Paris, Hammouda has been called “the celebrities’ lawyer” for serving as defence council for several infamous businessmen. Among his high profile yet controversial clients were Mamdouh Ismail, who he was able to prove innocent during the “Al-Salam 98 ferry boat case” following the death of 1033 of its passengers in 2006. He is currently the lawyer for businessman Mohamed Al-Ameen who owns CBC satellite channels; steel magnate Ahmed Ezz, owner of Ezz Dekheila who was a prominent member of the former National Democratic Party; and Ahmed Gaddaf Al-Dam , ousted Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi’s former special envoy to Egypt, among others. Hammouda was also briefly the defence lawyer for former president Hosni Mubarak. He is often a guest as a legal expert on prime time talk shows and has been a consistently tough critic for the 25 January Revolution and the government of the former President Mohamed Morsi.
DNE: What are the cases in which you represent Ahmed Ezz?
MH: I am representing Ezz in two cases. The first is the one regarding steel permits and the second is the money laundering case, but I am still considering whether I should take the Dekheila Factory case or not.
DNE: How do you see Ahmed Ezz’s legal stance in the Daqhelya case?
MH: Ezz is innocent; his financial records are clean and would make him one of the greatest and most honourable businessmen in the history of Egypt. His only problem is that he got involved with politics which harmed him.
DNE: What is the reason behind the denial of Ezz’s grievance release?
MH: Because he did not complete the duration of his preventative detention which is one year and a half, which will end on 17 February 2014. He was released on bail in the first two cases and the only remaining case is that of the Dekheila Factory where his preventative detention ends on the 17 February.
DNE: What is your defence in Ezz’s other cases?
MH: Ezz was sentenced then it was appealed, then the great prosecution that was not affected by the [25 January] revolution admitted that the steel permits are given for free and that the only thing to be debated whether his file deserves to be granted a permit or not. The file of Ahmed Ezz was then transferred to a committee of experts to determine whether he deserves to be granted a permit or not.
DNE: But other factories were only granted temporary permits?
MH: That is not true they were granted permits just like my client and that is why the prosecution admitted the truth that my client was innocent.
DNE: In your opinion, why did this happen to Ahmed Ezz?
MH: This was the case after 25 January 2011, where all the prominent figures of the Mubarak regime were vulnerable to be tried as the public opinion was highly influential at that time, but this is over now and Ezz will be acquitted eventually.
DNE: Would there be a financial reconciliation for Ezz?
MH: Of course not! My client is not a criminal to have reconciliation. Ahmed Ezz told me that he would not leave prison nor agree to any reconciliation unless he is fully acquitted, because he never stole a penny.
DNE: How did Ahmed Ezz accumulate his fortune?
MH: Ezz started the first Egyptian factory for ceramics called Al Jawhara in 1980 when he was only 27. His father was the largest iron importer in Egypt since the 1960s. Ezz used to assist his father in his multimillion dollar business when he was a freshman student in the Faculty of Engineering. The Mubarak regime sought Ahmed Ezz in 2000 not the other way around.
DNE: According to Ezz, did he make any mistakes?
MH: Politics is based on perspective. Ahmed Ezz did not commit any crimes. Let history judge Ahmed Ezz, the politician.
DNE: What about the 2010 parliamentary elections?
MH: Ezz had nothing to do with this; it was the responsibility of the Cabinet and the Minister of Interior, as for Ahmed Ezz’s record of his opinions about the Brotherhood that only proves his opinions to be correct about them.
DNE: What does Ahmed Ezz think of 30 June?
MH: He thinks it is a great revolution and that Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi is a great man. Ezz loves his country and does not have any political ambitions. He will return to be a successful businessman and will leave his political past to be judged by history.
DNE: What do you think of 25 January and 30 June uprisings?
MH: The revolution is that of 30 June, but 25 January is an angry uprising that took place due to the stubbornness of the Ministry of Interior with some citizens. That uprising was made by a group of youth who unknowingly joined a terrorist plan
The uprising of 25 January was planned by the Muslim Brotherhood and the West and the youth of the American University in Cairo, who were misled into a conspiracy that aimed to destroy Egypt’s institutions, starting with the Police on its national day of 25 January. The mistakes of the Mubarak regime, like his remaining in power for 30 years and the “inheritance project” helped create the atmosphere that the Muslim Brotherhood and the West wanted for their conspiracy. The uprising was essential because of these mistakes, but in my opinion until 28 January was enough. Mubarak announced in 2 February that he was leaving his position and that is why the youth left and the Muslim Brotherhood made the Camel Battle to make the people go back to the square. The Brotherhood wanted to destroy the rest of the country’s institutions through the slogan of “down with military rule” and then after Morsi was president they wanted to destroy the judiciary system by removing a thousand judges from their positions and replacing them with their lawyers.
Luckily, Egypt has its patriotic armed forces that took the side of the people in 30 June in a true revolution that rescued the country. Thus I believe that 25 January was an uprising with good intentions, but was used by traitors to destroy the country, while 30 June is the true revolution that salvaged the nation.
DNE: You have previously mentioned in televised interviews that Mubarak made mistakes but was not corrupted, how do you define corruption?
MH: Someone who was corrupted means that he had received bribes and used his position. Mubarak did not do that, his fortune is only EGP 6M. His children have more money, Gamal Mubarak has formed his fortune after working in a bank in the United States of America and after he returned to Egypt he owned an asset management company. Nobody can find illegitimately earned money for Mubarak or his family, because they do not exist. Mubarak made mistakes by not leaving his position in 2002, he made a mistake by approving of the inheritance project, but he is an Egyptian patriot who preferred to leave rather than to fire a bullet.
DNE: According to the UNDP there are eight standards of Good Governance, none of them applied to the Mubarak’s regime, how would you explain that?
MH: That is the United States Plot to divide Egypt. Merkel, Sarkozy and Obama allied against Egypt after they realised that its economy was booming and that it was about to become a developed country in 10 years. The US started talking about transparency through its organisations to justify its interference in Egypt. This disgraceful plot was fuelled by the talk about Mubarak’s fortune as one American paper estimated it to $72bn, and then said that this was just an estimate by an analyst. Mark my words I will sue Obama after he is out of office.
DNE: Why did you step down from Mubarak trial?
MH: It is the mistake of my life; I gave in to the people’s will and left the case of an innocent man. I prepared his case for two months in Sharm El-Sheikh and there was not a single flaw in neither his records nor those of his children, then I chose his current lawyer Farid Al-Deeb. He made mistakes as I mentioned before but this does not mean that he was guilty of any of the alleged charges.
DNE: You mentioned before that there is a group of wise Muslim Brotherhood members, would you accept to defend any of them, although they are now labelled as terrorists?
MH: None of those wise members are in custody or even charged. Like Mohamed Tosson, Mohamed Ali Beshr, Tharwat Al-Kherbawy, Kamal Al-Helbawy and others. They are considered from the wise members and they have already distanced themselves from the Muslim Brotherhood.
DNE: Would you consider taking over financial cases of the Brotherhood businessmen?
MH: If they are not accused of any terrorism charges, I would consider it. Some of their leaders wanted to assign me to their cases but I refused as I was among their opposition at the time of their regime and would have been executed if they had remained, therefore of course I would never take any of their terrorism cases.
DNE: You mentioned that several leaders of the Brotherhood received lucrative amounts of money to hand in Ahmed Gaddaf Al-Dam to the Libyan side, what is the source of your information?
MH: I cannot reveal my source at the time being.
DNE: What is your philosophy in selecting your clients? And who is your role model as a lawyer?
MH: I need to believe that my client is innocent, be challenged with the difficulty of the case and of course the financial aspect is important that would be challenging to someone with my credentials and expertise. I also take several patriotic cases for free like the case of Nile University against Zewail City, which I won as well. As for my role model as a lawyer, I aspire to become like Mustafa Pacha Mar’aey.
DNE: What is your definition of felool (remnants of the regime)?
MH: I accept the definition of those who have worked with Mubarak in his government, but not those who loved him, otherwise that would include almost 75% of the Egyptian people. I agree that Mubarak’s aides and officials would not return to get executive positions although some of them are irreplaceable such as his Minister of Finance Youssef Bouros Ghali and Ahmed Ezz who was responsible for the Budget Committee in Parliament, but I do not approve of the false imprisonment of these qualified calibers.
DNE: What are the reasons for the break in ties between CBC and Bassem Youssef
MH: Of course, it was strictly political. Mohamed Al-Ameen the owner of CBC channels is a patriotic man who told Bassem Youssef not to talk about General Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, but Youssef did not abide by that. I think that Al-Ameen dealt with the problem in a wrong way. If it was up to me, I would have let Bassem Youssef say what he wants and the public opinion would have made him change his mind eventually.
DNE: You said before that Egypt needs a benevolent dictator that would be commissioned by the people?
MH: I still believe in that statement. Democracy is a lie that was invented by the American man to control the world. That can be easily proved by determining who is controlling the American public opinion; it is the media and those who control [it].
Democracy was only applied correctly in France and the United Kingdom because they have educated people. When we reach that level of education maybe we can have a democracy, but now we have 40% of the Egyptian people are illiterate, 24% of the people are below poverty line, 75% do not have the intellectual basics [of critical thinking] and 99% have no idea what is politics.
DNE: Who is responsible for this ignorance?
MH: Thirty years of Hosni Mubarak and it started with Gamal Abdel Nasser who allowed the free education policy for every Egyptian which ruined the economy and the education.
DNE: Cannot we label this as corruption?
MH: No! It is ignorance.
DNE: What do you think of human rights and the security apparatuses?
MH: There should be better education of human rights. Although I said that we need a benevolent dictator, but a benevolent dictator would consider human rights for respectful citizens.
DNE: Who do you think should be the better ruler for Egypt in this coming period?
MH: Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi is the man suitable for this period. He is a dedicated man who is unanimously trusted by the average Egyptian man.
DNE: What do you think of the youth who do not approve of neither Al-Sisi nor the Muslim Brotherhood?
MH: They do not exceed 15,000 and they are lead by the traitors’ activists and human rights advocates who have received lucrative funds for misleading them. I advise the youth to focus on the best interest of their country.