The rule that the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty should be enforced, and after a fair trial
Cairo on April 18, 2018.
The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) supports the decisions of the Court of Cassation to accept appeals against the inclusion of hundreds of defendants on lists of terrorist entities. ANHRI also welcomes the opinion and recommendations of the cassation prosecution to accept the appeal of famous football player Mohamed Abu Trika and more than 1500 people listed on the same lists. The need to guarantee fair trial standards and the constitutional right of defense.
Today, the Court of Cassation is considering appeals against a criminal court decision issued on 12 January 2017 to include 1538 people on terrorism lists accused of funding the Muslim Brotherhood, on top of this list is former football player Mohamed Abu Trika, journalist Hisham Jaafar, the head of the Wasat party Abu el-Ela Madi, his deputy Issam Sultan and others.
The Court of Cassation recently ruled in favor of many of the defendants who appealed on being included on terrorism lists. Yesterday, the court accepted the appeal of 48 defendants against decision to include them on terrorism lists in the case known in the media as “The murder of journalist Mayada Ashraf” and decided their retrial, and set the appeal of another 215 defendants against the decision to include them on terrorism lists in the case known in the media as “Helwan Brigades” for adjudication.
ANHRI said: “The decisions to place someone on terrorism lists must be only issued following a fair and just trial based on factual evidence, which is lacking in many of the previous decisions, many of which are based on investigations by national security officers and without informing the defendant or enabling him/her to provide a defense against what he/she is charged with, without proof or evidence.
ANHRI reminds that the rulings of the Egyptian Court of Cassation have established that the courts should rely on investigations as a presumption that strengthens the evidence presented only. However, it can not alone be considered as sufficient evidence in of itself or an independent presumption of the accusation, investigations are to be considered a mere opinion of the person who wrote them, subject to by true or false and truth or lies until their source is known and verified, so that the judge himself/herself could verify such source and can take control over the evidence and evaluate its legal validity as evidence, which was lacking in many of the listing on terrorism lists decisions issued in based on vague accusations and investigations, and marred by mistakes in applying the law.
ANHRI also stresses the need to abide by the international covenants and treaties signed by Egypt which guarantee fair trial, and first and foremost to uphold the principle of presumption of innocence as a general rule, without considering the political background of the defendant, but rather by considering real acts committed by them.