Fifty-eight local civic organisations and political parties, along with 44 well-known lawyers, human rights activists and politicians condemned the “accusation of eyewitnesses” in the case of Shaimaa Al-Sabbagh.
Defence lawyer Anas Sayed had previously explained to Daily News Egypt that the case has two angles. The first one is the killing of Al-Sabbagh. The second one is the participation of Al-Sabbagh and co-members of the Socialist Popular Alliance Party, whom are accused of breaching the Protest Law.
Prosecutor-General Hisham Barakat referred a Central Security Forces officer to trial, but also maintained charges against party members. They will face trial on 4 April.
In a statement published by the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) Saturday, human rights defenders denounced the fact that Qasr El-Nil Prosecution authorities referred 14 members of the party to trial.
According to the statement, the worst part is the changing of the status of three additional members who were moved by the police from the list of eyewitnesses to the list of suspects.
One of the three is Azza Soliman, a lawyer and a senior member of the well-known local Centre for Egyptian Women Legal Assistance (CEWLA). She voluntarily went to testify on the incidents she said she witnessed from inside a restaurant off Talaat Harb Street.
“After the prosecution’s decision to change my status, from a witness to a defendant, I would like to say that I do not regret my testimony. No matter what the police, prosecution or judiciary do to scare us – and sometimes they are successful – I am still full of hope,” Soliman posted to her Facebook account on 23 March.
The other two witnesses facing accusations are member of the political party Bread and Freedom Mostafa Abdul Al, and a doctor who tried to save Al-Sabbagh named Maher Shaker, both happened to be sitting in a nearby cafeteria.
Not only did prosecution authority ‘wrongfully’ accused the defendants, but it also previously detained and accused the vice-president of the Socialist Popular Alliance Party Zohdy El-Shamy of Al-Sabbagh’s murder, before releasing him and conducting proper investigations amid an angry public opinion.
The Saturday statement included El-Nadeem Centre, Nazra for Feminist Studies, the Egyptian Centre for Social and Economic Rights, the Arabic network for Human Rights Information, the Popular Current Party, in addition to several lawyers’ independent organizations.