CAIRO: The appeal hearing of Mounir Said Hanna, who was convicted on May 30, 2009 of insulting the Egyptian president, has been postponed until July 18, the Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) said on Saturday.
Hanna, who works in the education ministry’s administrative department in El-Adwa, Minya, was arrested in April on charges of writing a six-verse poem whose content insults the President. ANHRI says in a press statement that Hanna was questioned by the public prosecution office without a lawyer being present, in violation of Egyptian law.
The NGO also says that Hanna was found guilty and sentenced to three years imprisonment and a fine of LE100,000 without the court hearing his defence.
The rights group says that Hanna sent the hand-written poem to members of the NGO’s legal team and did not publish it publicly, “which renders the whole case against the law. There is no law in Egypt or any other country which punishes people’s thoughts and intentions.
“It seems that there is a law applied in Minya which is not applied anywhere else in Egypt. The Criminal Procedures Code – under which the public prosecution office is obliged to appoint a lawyer to defendants facing charges carrying custodial sentences – was completely ignored, ANHRI’s press statement reads.
ANHRI are calling for Hanna’s conviction to be quashed.
“In addition the public prosecution office investigations did not specify the verbal expressions which it considers insulting. The harsh first-instance court’s ruling is devoid of any indication of the reasons for such a harsh sentence. As a result of the defendant’s inability to pay the fine of LE100,000 he has remained in custody until today and will stay imprisoned until July 18, the statement continues.