CAIRO: Lawyer Ahmed Gomaa, representing Mahmoud Sayed Abdel Hafez Essawy, who is charged with the murder of two university students last November, retracted his Saturday decision to withdraw from the case.
Gomaa had walked out of the courtroom on Saturday when the judge refused to allow a witness, coroner Hoda Al-Gabally, to answer a question regarding her professional opinion on how blood traces of the victims ended up on Essawy’s undershirt.
However, he reversed his decision when 19-year-old Essawy’s parents insisted on having him represent their son.
During the hearing at the South Cairo Criminal Court, Essawy denied that the undershirt, presented as evidence by the prosecution, belonged to him.
Al-Gabally had told the court that DNA tests showed that the undershirt had traces of Heba and Nadine’s blood and of Essawy’s tissue, but Gomaa wished to contest how the blood stains got there.
Last February, the court listened to the state coroner Ayman Hussein Mohamed, who had conducted the autopsy on the two victims Heba El-Akkad and Nadine Khaled and also examined Essawy.
Mohamed said that there was no evidence on the two dead bodies suggesting that Essawy was at the scene of the crime, nor were there any signs of resistance by the late victims on the body of the accused.
He conceded that a sharp metal object could have been used as the murder weapon but doubted that the victims could have died as a result of one stab, as Essawy had told the prosecution during the initial interrogation. He cited inconsistencies between the forensic evidence of how they were killed and the confessions extracted from the defendant.
Essawy pleaded “not guilty to the murders and said that the confessions were extracted from him under pressure, which Essam Shiha, Nadine’s lawyer, rejects.
He confessed without any pressure from anyone, but it s normal for him to retract his statements now that he s facing the death penalty, Shiha told Daily News Egypt.