By Mai Shams El-Din
CAIRO: Prosecution referred Wednesday a complaint against 12 activists, politicians and journalists to the military prosecution, the same day activist Asmaa Mahfouz received a one-year prison sentence in absentia.
Both cases were filed by civilians, a practice used under the Hosni Mubarak-regime to crack down on dissent without a direct confrontation.
The official Middle East News Agency (MENA) said Wednesday that general prosecution referred a complaint filed against 12 public figures to its military counterpart with charges of incitement to demolish the state and against the military rulers.
Over 700 civilians have signed the complaint, according to MENA.
The accused include prominent novelist Alaa El-Aswany, outspoken TV anchor Yosri Fouda, anchor Reem Maged, PA members Ziad El-Eleimy and Abol Ezz El-Hariry, presidential hopeful Bouthaina Kamel, leftist activist Sameh Naguib, politician Goerge Ishaq, and Mahfouz.
Kamel’s campaign coordinator Amr El-Ansary told Daily News Egypt that the first female presidential hopeful was not notified of her referral to military prosecution, and that she only knew found out from media reports.
Mahfouz knew about her prison sentence on the same day. In two days of procedure, Mahfouz said she was sentenced in absentia on charges of assault.
Mahfouz said on her Twitter account that she was out of the country when her father received a letter from prosecution two days earlier to summon her. When he went to the prosecution a day later, he discovered that the case was referred to court and then received the prison sentence in absentia.
Mahfouz said the verdict was issued by a preliminary court. She had to appeal the sentence in order not to be arrested at the airport as she was planning to fly to Germany on Thursday.
“I received a one year suspended sentence in absentia and a fine worth LE 20,000 for beating someone I have never seen or known before,” Mahfouz said.
“What a speedy judiciary! Someone files a lawsuit in two days and ends in two days? What about those who killed the people and stole the fortunes of the country and were [untouchable] this whole year?” she added.
The man who alleged that Mahfouz attacked him is Abdel Aziz Fahmy, the same witness who testified against activist Alaa Abdel Fattah in the Maspero case.
Fahmy had testified that he saw Abdel Fattah with prominent blogger Wael Abbas — who out of the country at the time — during the military crackdown on a mostly Coptic protest that left 27 dead and hundreds injured last October.
Fahmy also filed previously a complaint against veteran activist Nawara Negm, the Imam of Omar Makram Mosque Shiekh Mazhar Shahin, politician Mamdouh Hamza and presidential hopeful Ayman Nour, accusing them of funding Tahrir protesters to incite them against army officers during the Cabinet clashes last December.
The complaint was turned down and all the activists were released by the investigations judge.
Negm and Hamza are also among the 12 accused of incitement to bring down the state and against the military rulers.
Member of Parliament and head of Union of Independent Labor Syndicate Kamal Abou Eita is also facing a complaint filed by civilians.
Members of the official syndicate committees of the public transport workers filed a complaint against Abou Eita, accusing him of inciting public transport workers to strike, according to media reports.
The complaint said that Abou Eita led a group of thugs and members of the Independent Union for Public Transport Workers to organize a strike, attack public transport police office and destroy its first floor.
The complaint urged the parliament to lift Abou Eita’s legal immunity to allow prosecution to interrogate him.
Abou Eita was not available to comment by press time.
Last week, the general coordinator of the Center for Trade Unions and Worker’s Services (CTUWS) was sentenced to six month in absentia for “insulting a public officer.”
He interrupted former head of the official Egyptian Trade Union Federation during a speech at the International Labor Organization (ILO) last June, accusing him Ismail of being part of the ousted regime. He also criticized the official workers union, accusing it of not representing the Egyptian workers.
“This is the attack of counter-revolutionary forces against activists, whether labor activists or political activists, and a continuation of the practices of the ousted regime,” Abbas previously told Daily News Egypt.
He cited a similar court verdict sentencing him to one year imprisonment in a case triggered by a conflict with the official trade union.