CAIRO: The Abbaseyya Appeals Court yesterday rejected all arguments put forward by the defense team of Al-Dostour’s Editor-in-Chief Ibrahim Eissa.
In March Eissa was convicted of “publishing false information of a nature to disturb public order or security and sentenced to six months imprisonment and a fine.
In August 2007 Al-Dostour had published articles suggesting that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is in ill-health. The court found in favor of the prosecution’s claim that the articles had had a detrimental effect on the Egyptian economy.
During Sunday’s session, the defense team had argued that a violation of the Criminal Procedures Code had taken place.
Eissa’s case, they argued, should have been sent back to the public prosecution office after a decision was made to transfer the case hearing the charges from a State Security court to an ordinary Criminal Misdemeanours court.
They also argued that the article under which Eissa was convicted – Article 188 of the Penal Code – is unconstitutional because it reverses the burden of proof, placing the onus of proving innocence on the defendant, and uses ambiguous language in violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, ratified by Egypt.
The defense requested that the case papers be sent to Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court for a ruling on the constitutionality of the disputed article.
During the court session, which lasted only a few minutes, and was attended by only two members of Eissa’s defense team and from which Eissa himself was absent, Judge Hazem Waguih issued the court’s verdict rejecting all of the defense team’s arguments.
At the next session scheduled for July 27, Eissa’s defense team will begin pleadings related to the substantive, factual, aspects of the case.