Update: Court upholds decision to release Wael Abbas, two others

The Giza Criminal Court rejected on Monday yesterday’s State Security Prosecution’s appeal against its earlier conditional release order granted to activist and blogger Wael Abbas, PhD student and researcher Walid al-Shobaky, and documentary videographer Moamen Hassan, according to lawyer Karim Abdel Rady.

The three defendants face charges of spreading false news and joining a terrorist group as part of Case 441/2018, under which a number of prominent lawyers, bloggers and journalists have been arrested.

Giza Criminal Court issued on Saturday an order for release on probation for Abbas, Shobaky, and Hassan. The probation terms include that the three men must be present at a police station for four hours twice a week.

These latest proceedings in Case 441/2018 date back to late May, when Shobaky, a doctoral student and researcher at the University of Washington, disappeared after a meeting on May 23 with Mohamed Nour Farahat, a professor of law at Zagazig University.

Farahat wrote on his Facebook account shortly after Shobaky disappeared that he had received a call from Shobaky’s family, informing him of the researcher’s disappearance.

According to Farahat’s post, Shobaky met the law professor in his office, and they spoke briefly about the cultural context of the establishment of Egypt’s judicial system. “The researcher told me that he had met with a number of prominent law and judiciary experts in Egypt, before coming to me for help with his research. Today his brother messaged me on Facebook, saying that he cannot be reached.”

On May 27, Mounir announced that Shobaky had been brought before the State Security Prosecution and added to Case 441/ 2018. Since then, his detention has been renewed numerous times.

Abbas, who is known for blogging about protests and documenting police brutality, was arrested during a dawn raid on his home on May 24. The Arab Network for Human Rights Information reported that security personnel confiscated computers, phones, books and the blogger’s personal belongings, before blindfolding him and transferring him to an unknown location and preventing him from contacting his lawyer.

In addition to Abbas, Shobaky and Hassan, a diverse array of defendants have been arrested in past months, and are now party to Case 441/2018. These include journalists Mostafa al-Asar and Hassan al-Banna, lawyer and head of the Egyptian Coordination for Rights and Freedoms Ezzat Ghoneim, Fatemah Mohamed, her husband Abdallah Moddar and her brother Omar Mousa. The defendants face charges of spreading false news and joining a terrorist group.

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