CAIRO: Hadayeq El-Qobba Misdemeanors Court found blogger Wael Abbas innocent on appeal Thursday.
Abbas was facing a six-month prison sentence for “tampering with an internet cable brought by his neighbors, brothers Ahmed and Ashraf Maher Aglan.
When asked whether the verdict had given him faith back in the Egyptian judiciary Abbas said “of course.
“I’m still not sure whether the charges were politically motivated…I can’t see inside Aglan’s head. But the guilty verdict was a joke; six months for tampering with a cable?
“The judge had to give this verdict today. We provided irrefutable evidence of my innocence, which was that I was out of the country.
The court heard pleadings from defense lawyer Hamdy El-Assiouty, who told the court that at the time it is alleged that he tampered with the internet cable, Abbas was actually in Austria at a conference.
This, El-Assiouty, suggested is evidence that the charges against Abbas were “fabricated by the Aglan brothers and that Ashraf Aglan – a police officer – brought the charges in revenge for the assault charges Abbas filed against him and his brother in April 2009.
The assault took place after a verbal disagreement about Abbas’ internet subscription, which the blogger was sharing with Ahmed Aglan, escalated into the alleged physical assault of Abbas in his home by the Aglan brothers.
Investigation into the physical assault complaint filed by Abbas against the Aglans was shelved “for insufficient evidence, according to the Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI). Abbas subsequently discovered that he had been found guilty in absentia in November 2009 pursuant to the cable tampering complaint filed by the Aglans.
During yesterday’s court session, the judge interrupted El-Assiouty while he was pleading and reportedly wrote “innocent on the case file before dismissing the defense team.
The verdict was announced later in the day, just before 5 pm.
In a statement issued yesterday morning, ANHRI condemned the charges issued against Abbas.
“Filing fabricated charges against bloggers has become a familiar approach of the Interior Ministry, ANHRI says in its statement.
“Filing cases such as this charade case against a well-known blogger sends a message of terror to all other bloggers and is an attempt to intimidate them and force them into silence on interior ministry practices.