Ahmed Fathi Serour has been released from prison on Friday following his acquittal alongside 23 other co-defendants for involvement in the infamous Camel Battle that took place in the beginning of February last year, human rights lawyer Osama El-Mahdy confirmed. Fathi Serour was the People’s Assembly speaker under former President Hosni Mubarak and considered a possible replacement should the president suddenly die.
The release was first reported through the state-owned news agency MENA. According to their brief, the Interior Ministry has finalised their procedures to release Fathi Sorour, while the other 23 defendants currently are waiting for the Cairo Security Directorate “to detect and make sure there are no judicial rulings which can be enforced before being released.”
The 24 defendants are mostly either top officials from the former ruling National Democratic Party, members of the Shura Council or the People’s Assembly. Amongst the accused is Safwat Sherief, ex-president of the Shura Council, and Aisha Abdel Hedy, ex minister of immigration and manpower.
According to lawyer Amr Imam, the prosecution lacked strong evidence to convict the defendants.
The verdict handed down on Wednesday was met with criticism and anger. Large-scale protests on Friday turned violent and the focus shifted from the court case to pro versus anti-Muslim Brotherhood clashes. Molotov cocktails and homemade explosive devices were used during the clashes which began early Friday.
Imam believes Morsy should condemn the clashes and launch an investigation into the culprits of the violence, even if such culprits end up being from his party.
Meanwhile the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party said in an official statement on Friday that a mysterious third party is behind the clashes, provoking panic amongst the peaceful protesters and accusing brotherhood members of assaulting them. The Muslim Brotherhood’s official website Ikhwanweb, denied any Brotherhood supporters were in Tahrir, despite evidence to the contrary.