Mahalla: Court Postpones Trial of 49 to Monday Amid Tight Security Measures

Mahalla: Court Postpones Trial of 49 to Monday Amid Tight Security Measures

Tanta Emergency Criminal Supreme State Security Court decided to postpone the trial of 49 defendants accused of taking part in the violent protests in the city of Mahalla to Monday September 8, 2008 to hear the witnesses, Ikhwanweb reporter said.

This came after the session which lasted for four hours after listening to the prosecution witnesses of officers, with heavy security presence while journalists, media and relatives of defendants were banned from attending the session.

During the Prosecution presentation of the 49 defendants on Sunday, the public prosecutor called for severe punishment for defendants of Case No. 5498 of 2008 of Mahalla.

Ahmed Higazi, head of the Defense Panel of the detainees of the protests of 6 ,7 April in  Mehalla,  demanded the Public Prosecution  to address the Detainees Affairs Section in the Interior Ministry to detect whether the defendants : Jamal Mustafa Ahmed Ragheb, Ahmed Abdul-Moez ,Rafat Al-Bawaab, Ibrahim Youssef  Farahat Abdullah, Radi Al-Zoghbi, Bassam Abdul Hai, Bssem Al-Azaab and Ibrahim Abdul-Hamid, are political or criminal detainees.

He also demanded probe into the date and the reasons for detention, in addition to announcing the names of all detainees, pointing out that there are other detainees whom the security devices claimed they escaped, and were not present in the case.

He stressed on the need to demand the Public Prosecution to start a Criminal Research in Mehalla about the month of April; starting from April 5 to the end of the month, in addition to releasing all defendants, as the prosecution and the courts had decided to release 400 others of the same charges.

The courtroom has witnessed an intensive security presence, with the attendance of few lawyers, unlike Saturday where a crowd of lawyers and various human rights organizations were present.

The defendants were shouting “we’re oppressed, we’re oppressed”, “Where is the Egyptian justice”, while the security apparatus kept the relatives of the defendants outside the court, and did not allow them to enter, as well as journalists who were not allowed to enter without a written permission.

The court was surrounded by nine Central Security vehicles, in addition to the security cordon and the presence of some of the Defense Panel such as Ahmed Seif Al-Islam Hamad, the chairman of Hisham Mubarak Law Center, Hamdi Al-Assiouti, and Ahmad Higazi.

The session lasted for more than 4 hours to listen to five officers who witnessed the protests, and they are: Mohamed Fathi Abdul Rahman (in the SSI of Mahalla), the Major General Khalid Garaba (Manager of the General Department of the Criminal Investigations in the middle of Delta) Colonel Reda Tableiya (the Chief of the Criminal Investigations in Al-Garbeiya) and Colonel Ayman Radi Khamis, (the Chief of the Criminal Investigation in Mahalla.)

Hamdi Al-Assiouti, a lawyer, said that the security is always known of fabricating issues, and in the case of Mahalla, the security resorted to some thugs to make riot, in addition to arresting the defendants and inspecting their homes without permission from the Public Prosecution, claiming that they are wanted.