Human Rights Organization 10-Point Criticism of Junta Verdict Against President Morsi
After a junta court sentenced the elected President Mohamed Morsi and 16 others to 20 years in prison, in the Itehadia Palace case, human rights activist Ahmed Mefreh, Egypt coordinator and researcher with Alkarama for Human Rights organization, stressed that, "It has become clear beyond doubt that the course of the case was set to go only in one direction: the Court based its verdict exclusively on National Security investigation statements, prosecution witnesses (Republican Guard and police personnel), victims belonging to the National Salvation Front (NSF), and videos posted on social media supposedly affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood”.
In a post on his Facebook page, Mefreh added: "By contrast, the Court did not make any mention of Muslim Brotherhood members who were killed, defense witnesses, videos showing incitement by NSF leaders (Hamdeen Sabahi, Amr Moussa and Mohamed ElBaradei) against Muslim Brotherhood members and leaders, or other defense arguments and evidence”.
The human rights activist said his views on the ‘reasoning’ of the prison sentence can be summed up in 10 points, as follows:
1. The reasoning published ignored earlier challenges to the Court’s jurisdiction in considering the case, which is an important point that must be dealt with as such and responded to in a legal and official report.
2. The Court issued its ruling based on statements from prosecution witnesses and police officers, ignoring all defense witnesses.
3. The Court relied on comments and video clips posted in social media websites regarding the Itehadia Palace clashes, and on National Security investigations. However, it totally ignored material and videos showing NSF leaders Hamdeen Sabahi, Amr Moussa and Mohamed ElBaradei inciting their supporters to violence against Muslim Brotherhood members.
4. President Mohamed Morsi was sentenced on charges of inciting and participating in a ‘show of force, violence, false arrest and detention of others’. The Court said that the case – about the clashes which occurred on December 5 and 6, 2012 – has 11 ‘principal actor’ defendants, and 4 ‘aiding and abetting’ defendants, including President Mohamed Morsi.
5. The Court heard the testimony of 57 people, including 20 officers, 32 victims, 2 senior pathologists, and 3 members of the (state-run) Federation of Radio and Television’s Technical Committee, and examined videos posted on social media websites, but failed to make any mention of defense witnesses, testimonies or videos.
6. The Court stated in its reasoning that a use of violence felony resulted in the crime of unlawful detention, in addition to physical torture crimes, about which the law is very strict, raising the maximum penalty prescribed of "rigorous imprisonment from 3 to 15 years" to 20 years.
7. Raising the penalty for defendants including President Morsi happened after the Court decided to use its legal right to do so, following its inspection of posted video clips and other material from the media and social networking websites, as well as material recorded by the defendants themselves on their own mobile phones.
8. The Court accepted witness statements from Republican Guard and (ministry of interior) police officers affirming that President Mohamed Morsi wanted forces to use violence to break up the protest sit-in, but they refused.
9. It is ironic that the Court used the same National Security investigations to accuse President Morsi and 16 others of committing the ‘crime of show of force, violence, false arrest and unlawful detention’, and also to acquit them of charges of murder and possessing munitions. The Court then affirmed that the two parties (the Muslim Brotherhood and the NSF) hired thugs, street children and Ultras (football fans) to participate in the clashes.
10. The bullets used in the Itehadia Palace clashes were of the so-called "Dumdum" or internationally prohibited "expanding bullets" type, which killed the journalist Abu-Deif Al-Husseini and a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. These banned bullets are used by professional snipers and assassins.