CAIRO: An investigating judge adjourned Wednesday the interrogation of three prominent activists to Jan. 15 for their alleged involvement in the Cabinet clashes in December.
Activist Nawara Negm, spokesman of the April 6 Youth Movement’s Democratic Front Tarek El-Khouly and Imam of Omar Makram Mosque Mazhar Shahin were summoned Tuesday by the investigating judge for questioning on charges of funding and inciting thugs to attack military forces and destroy public property [the Scientific Complex that was set alight during the clashes] and deluding the public into thinking that Egypt still suffers from rampant corruption.
The three activists were accompanied by a huge crowd of supporters who chanted in front of the courtroom, which, according to their lawyer, "paralyzed” the judge.
"The judge complained that the supporters distracted him and that he could not serve justice under such pressure," lawyer Malek Adly told Daily News Egypt Wednesday.
"The judge wanted Negm to appear before him alone without her lawyers, but she refused," he said, adding that the man who filed the complaint against Negm is Abdel Aziz Fahmy, the very same prosecution witness who testified against prominent activist Alaa Abdel Fattah in the Maspero case.
Abdel Fattah’s defense lawyers accused Fahmy of perjury as he said he saw Abdel Fattah with activist Wael Abbas during the Maspero clashes, which proved untrue because Abbas was outside the country at the time.
Architect and politician Mamdouh Hamza was summoned earlier in the same probe, but the summoning letter arrived late so he declined to attend. Chairman of Ghad El-Thawra Party Ayman Nour was interrogated Tuesday in the same case.
Nour was released without bail but was banned from traveling outside the country.
"This is a good outcome for the interrogation; he could have been released on bail or he could have been jailed," Nour’s lawyer Ramy Ghanem told DNE in a previous interview.
"There is no legal evidence provided except for one testimony by Ibrahim Kabo, one of the arrested defendants in the case, who alleged that Nour paid another defendant called Abdel Nasser to burn the complex and to riot," Ghanem said, adding that Abdel Nasser later retracted these allegations.
Nour said in a statement that the judge refused to listen to the testimony of defense witnesses and preferred to interrogate Nour alone with his lawyer.
Nour described the interrogation as a "return to the practices of the old regime with the same logic and tactics,” calling the charges "funny and a waste of time."
"I wouldn’t have paid bail if they asked me to, I am not a defendant and the revolution will win," he said in a statement.
Egypt’s official Middle East News Agency (MENA) reported on Sunday, a day before an official summons was issued, that an investigating judge had called in a number of prominent politicians and activists for questioning related to their involvement in funding protesters and inciting them to attack army and police forces during the deadly Cabinet clashes in December.
The activists said they knew about their summons from the media, before being officially served.