Friday, February 19, 2010

Egyptian blogger Abbas acquitted

Hadayeq El-Qobba Misdemeanors Court found Egypts best known blogger Wael Abbas innocent on appeal Thursday.A court of lower intance had covicted him earlier to a six-month prison sentence for “tampering with an internet cable”, a charge brought by his neighbors, brothers Ahmed and Ashraf Maher Aglan.  When asked whether the verdict had given him faith back in the Egyptian judiciary Abbas said “of course.”.
 The court heard pleadings from defense lawyer Hamdy El-Assiouty, who told that at the time it is alleged that he tampered with the internet cable, Abbas was actually in Austria at a conference. This, El-Assiouty said, was evidence that the charges against Abbas were “fabricated” by the Aglan brothers and that Ashraf Aglan — a police officer — brought the charges in revenge for the assault charges Abbas filed against him and his brother in April 2009 after a quarrel they had about a shared internet connection.
In a statement issued yesterday morning, the Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) condemned the charges against Abbas. “Filing fabricated charges against bloggers has become a familiar approach of the Interior Ministry,” ANHRI says in its statement. “Filing cases such as this charade case against a well-known blogger sends a message of terror to all other bloggers and is an attempt to intimidate them and force them into silence on interior ministry practices.”

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