Mass life imprisonment and death sentences, blatant political biases and vote-rigging in the 2005 parliamentary elections are just a few of the violations notorious Judge Nagy Shehata was accused of by social media users on Monday.
For 24 hours, defendants, families of defendants and lawyers who stood before Shehata’s court will be relaying their experiences and listing some of the judge’s most controversial sentences and outlandish statements, encouraging other social media users to follow suit using the hashtag “Stop Nagy Shehata,” or #أوقفوا_ناجي_شحاتة
Shehata is infamous for issuing mass death sentences, giving him the popular nickname “the death-penalty judge.”
In December 2014, he sentenced 188 defendants to death for violence in the Giza town of Kerdasa in 2013.
In the “Cabinet clashes” case, Shehata sentenced activist Ahmed Douma and 229 others to life in prison and fined them LE17 million collectively for damages to the Institut d’Egypte. When Douma reacted verbally to the verdict in court, Shehata said he would add three more years to his sentence.
Shehata also presided over the high-profile Al Jazeera trial, in which he sentenced three journalists to seven to 10 years in jail for aiding a “terrorist organization.” Eleven other Al Jazeera staffers, who were tried in absentia, also received 10 years imprisonment. The sentence sparked international outrage.
In March 2015, he sentenced Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie and 13 others to death on charges of establishing an operations room to instruct Muslim Brotherhood members to confront the authorities and spread chaos after the deadly dispersal of the Rabea al-Adaweya and Nahda Square sit-ins in August 2013. In the same case, he sentenced Mohamed Soltan to life in prison, along with 36 others. Soltan’s father Salah Soltan was also sentenced to death.
One of the first to make use of the hashtag was Soltan himself, listing the sentences handed down in his case. Soltan said that Douma nearly died when he was being treated at the prison hospital and that Shehata refused to allow him to be transferred to an external facility “until the issue escalated.”
Shehata also adjourned Soltan’s case during his plea when he implied that the judiciary was allied with the prosecution.
Lawyer Mohamed al-Baqer listed some of the judge’s most problematic violations, including his consistent denial of torture in prisons, his clear political biases and some of his statements, including describing all leftists as “chaotic” and nicknaming the January 25 revolution as the “January 25 losses.”
Shehata has questioned and tried a defendant in three minutes, according to Baqer, and has also ignored accusations of torture and repeated requests made by defense teams during trials.
Shehata openly expressed his political views in a recent interview with the privately owned Al-Watan newspaper, in which he went on to criticize certain media personalities and defend his “death-penalty judge” title.
“If it’s given to me by members of extremist religious currents, then I am pleased and happy with it,” he said.
As for the January 25 revolution, he said that it “destroyed Egyptian morals.”
Shehata said he described it as “January 25 losses” after he watched videos of the Cabinet clashes in December 2011, “which showed defendants dancing after burning their history and heritage at the Institut d’Egypte, and they were very happy, including Ahmed Douma.”
After he was slammed on social media over his statements, Shehata retracted his comments, implying the interview was fabricated and instigating a verbal war with Al-Watan.
Journalist Ahmed Gamal Ziada also recounted his experience with Shehata, who renewed his detention several times over a year and a half before he was acquitted of charges of assaulting police officers, vandalism and illegal assembly. Ziada was arrested on December 28, 2013 while covering violent protests at Al-Azhar University.
After asking the defendants’ lawyers and the prosecution a few basic questions, intermittently interrupted by his phone’s Amr Diab ringtone, Shehata classified Ziada’s case as a terrorism case.
In another detailed post, activist Mona Seif said that Shehata was accused of vote-rigging in the 2005 parliamentary elections in favor of the deposed National Democratic Party.