Egypt rejects German statement on an upcoming trial session as ‘blatant interference in its internal affairs’

Amr Kandil , Sunday 19 Dec 2021

Egypt rejected on Saturday a statement made by the German government regarding an upcoming trial session for a number of defendants in Egyptian court, calling it a “blatant and unjustified interference in the country's internal affairs.”

Egypt s Foreign Ministry
Egypt s Foreign Ministry s headquarters. File photo

In a statement, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry rebuked the German government statement as "comprising unacceptable infractions" and representing both "a blatant and unjustified interference in the internal Egyptian affairs" and "infringes upon a judicial path without objective evidence or proof.”

The German Federal Foreign Office had called on Friday on the Egyptian government to ensure "a fair trial" and to release Egyptian lawyer Mohamed El-Baqer and activists Alaa Abdel-Fattah and Mohamed Ibrahim (aka Mohamed Oxygen) who have a trial session in the case 1228/2021 that is scheduled for 20 December.

The German Federal Foreign office said "the upcoming pronouncement of a judgment on 20 December 2021 in the trial of the lawyer Mohamed El-Baqer will show where the human rights situation in Egypt is heading."

The German statement also said Berlin "values" the recent launching of the country's National Strategy for Human Rights in September, and "will follow its implementation."

In October, the Egyptian prosecution referred the three defendants to the Emergency State Security Misdemeanour Court on various charges.

The defendants are standing trial on charges of spreading false news inside and outside the country, misusing social media, joining an illegal group that seeks to suspend the constitution and laws, and prevent state institutions from carrying out their duties.

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry accused the German government of “double standards” since it calls on the one hand for respect to the rule of law while it calls on the other hand on the Egyptian government to intervene and influence the rulings of the country's independent judiciary.

“It is surprising that the German government calls for respecting the law, while calling at the same time for interfering and influencing the rulings of the lofty Egyptian judiciary, which is known for independence, impartiality and integrity,” the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said.

“It is better for the German government to heed its own internal challenges than to impose its guardianship on others,” the foreign ministry said, stressing the need for respecting the rule of the law and the Egyptian constitution.

“Assuming a specific outcome [of a trial] is utterly and categorically rejected as it represents a derogation of the judiciary, justice, and the principles of the rule of law and the separation of powers that is stipulated in the constitution,” the Egyptian Foreign Ministry stressed.

In November, Egypt's Court of Cassation upheld a ruling to place Abdel-Fattah, El-Baqer and 26 others on the country's terrorism list for a five-year period in the case 1781/2019.

In a document, the State Security Prosecution said the defendants in the case 1781/2019 are accused in other cases of various terror-related crimes including belonging to an outlawed group; inciting against the state; calling for suspending the constitution; attempting to overthrow the regime; threatening national security; and spreading chaos.

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