Lawyer and former presidential candidate Khaled Ali’s appeal of a verdict issued against him for “public indecency” was postponed on Wednesday to September 5.
On Wednesday, Dokki Misdemeanor Appeals Court issued subpoenas for attorney Samir Sabry, who filed the original case against Ali, the bailiff who had recorded the case file, as well as the director of the privately owned Sada al-Balad television channel, which had aired the video of Ali allegedly making the hand gesture that constituted the basis of Sabry’s accusations.
Dokki Misdemeanor Court sentenced Ali in September of last year to three months in prison over allegations that he made an inappropriate hand gesture while celebrating a a court ruling in his favor in the legal battle surrounding the Tiran and Sanafir island transfer agreement with Saudi Arabia.
Although the court did not hear the defense’s case at the time, Ali was convicted of committing a “dishonorable public act,” a charge that he deemed unconstitutional, as Egyptian law only stipulates against dishonorable acts regarding tax evasion.
Ali, who denied all charges, served as his own defense during Wednesday’s session, arguing the invalidity of the technical report presented by the Egyptian Radio and Television Union (ERTU). The report was prepared by a committee tasked with examining video evidence submitted by the prosecution in support of the charges against Ali, in an attempt to prove he made the gesture in front of the State Council in January 2017.
In addition to the fact that the committee did not include any acoustics experts, Ali noted that its members were unable to discern whether the video they examined was original or if it had been edited.
The lawyer also said that when he asked the committee about the nature of the device they used to examine the video, its members replied that they used WaveLab, which is a software program used for digital audio editing, not a hardware device.
Ali further alluded to the fact that the video evidence the plaintiff presented were broadcast exclusively on TV host Ahmed Moussa’s talk show “‘Ala Mas’ouleyety” (My Responsibility), which airs on Sada al-Balad, questioning Moussa’s absence and that of the TV channel’s representatives from the ongoing legal proceedings.
Ali also pointed to the fact that the experts he consulted for his defense have proven in their report that the video in question had been edited.
Ragia Omran, a member of Ali’s defense team, had previously told Mada Masr that the court heard the testimonies of three technical experts from the Cinema Syndicate called by the defense to examine video evidence, who concluded, through frame-by-frame analysis, that the video had been manipulated, pointing to an additional finger on Ali’s left hand. Video footage from nearby locations to the site at which Ali allegedly made the gesture, including a gas station, museum and school, was not available to the court due to “erasure every 15 days,” she added.
Another member of Ali’s defense team, lawyer Malek Adly, had previously told Mada Masr that the defense team’s videos show Ali from five different angles, none of which include the gesture the human rights lawyer is accused of making.
In a previous case hearing, Ali had stated in court that he believes the complaint against him was made as a result of his intention to run for the presidency.
After announcing his intention to run in the 2018 presidential election in November 2017, Ali withdrew from the race in January of this year, citing government violations and unfair competition as the reasons why he will not be submitting the paperwork needed to support his candidacy application to the National Elections Authority (NEA).