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.”