Egyptian blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah accused of 'insulting judiciary'

Zeinab El Gundy , Tuesday 29 Jan 2013

Political activist and blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah is the first in a list of figures to be questioned in relation to accusations of insulting the judiciary

Alaa Abdel Fatah
(Photo : Hossam Hamalawy)

Political activist and blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah was summoned on Tuesday for questioning, facing accusations of insulting the judiciary.

Abdel Fattah attended the interrogation along with a number of lawyers, including his father Ahmed Seif, a renowned human rights lawyer.

After the interrogation Abdel Fattah wrote about the case using his official Twitter account (@alaa):

"I am facing charges of insulting the judiciary. I refused to cooperate in the interrogation because of the judiciary's unbalanced priorities. They ignore reports of torture and instead focus on what is published online."

He pointed to a case in which he claimed the judiciary ignored reports that protesters who had attacked the head of the Judges Club Ahmed El-Zend were tortured inside the club.

"I also filed a legal complaint against [former head of the military council] Hussein Tantawi, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, [President Mohamed] Morsi and against the current and former prosecutor-generals for insulting the judiciary and interfering in the judges' work," the famous political activist added on his Twitter account.

Abdel Fattah was released without any guarantees by the magistrate appointed by the justice ministry to investigate the case.  

In 2006, Abdel Fattah was arrested and detained for 45 days during a peaceful protest calling for judicial independence.  

In 2011, Abdel Fattah was falsely accused of attacking army personnel and stealing weapons from army units during the Maspero clashes of October 2011. He was acquitted after months in detention.

More than a thousand judges have filed joint complaints against several journalists, television presenters, activists and political figures to the prosecution and ministry of justice accusing them of insulting the judiciary. Amongst those accused are ONtv channel CEO Albert Shafiq; ONtv television presenter Reem Maged; television presenter Hala Serhan and her producers; television presenter Mahmoud Saad; and television presenter Lamis El-Hadidy. 

Most of the television hosts are accused of "allowing their guests to speak inappropriately of the judiciary."  

Former MP Mostafa El-Naggar is the latest to join the list of prominent figures facing such accusations. According to his official Twitter account, he has been summoned for questioning on Wednesday. 

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