The Qasr Al-Nil Misdemeanour Court on Saturday postponed the trial of the Press Syndicate’s head Yahia Qalash and two board members, Khaled El-Balshy and Gamal Abdelrahim, to 25 June to hear testimonies and inspect exhibits.
The court accepted demands submitted by the defence lawyers during the court session and specified three further court sessions to implement these demands.
The court determined the 25 June court session to review CDs related to the case and to hear the testimonies of journalists Amr Badr and Mahmoud Al-Saqa. Sessions on 2 July and 9 July will be spent listening to testimonies of the security forces that arrested the journalists and stormed the Press Syndicate.
The syndicate leaders are facing charges of harbouring wanted journalists inside the syndicate headquarters and propagating false news. Qalash and Abdelrahim did not attend their second court session; however, El-Balshy was present.
Security personnel were deployed around the court for the second time, preventing journalists and photographers from attending the session. Entrance was only permitted for lawyers and defendants.
The syndicate leaders’ defence team included the former dean of the Faculty of Law at Cairo University, Mahmoud Kabesh, Lawyer Tarek Nagida, National Council for Human Rights member, Hafez Abu Saeda, and others. The team was led by the head of the Lawyers’ Syndicate Sameh Ashour. Other prominent lawyers, journalists, and figures attended the court session to express solidarity with the syndicate leaders.
Tarek Khater, member of the defence team, told Daily News Egypt that the lawyers demanded the summoning of a technician to inspect CDs that were presented as evidence as well as the summoning of journalists Amr Badr and Mahmoud Al-Saqa from their detention to hear their testimonies and review their case documents.
Badr and Al-Saqa were arrested inside the syndicate on 1 May, causing uproar among civil rights movements, leading the syndicate to call for the sacking of the Minister of Interior.
Khater said that they also demanded the summoning of the security forces who arrested the two journalists and stormed the syndicate as well as the syndicate security team and journalists who were present during the incident of 1 May.
The lawyer added that the defence also demanded the summoning of Hatem Zakaria, a member of the Syndicate Council, to listen to his testimony again. Zakaria’s first testimony condemned the defendants, leading Al-Balshy to question why Zakaria had not opposed what happened from the very beginning.
Moreover, the defence team demanded hearing testimonies of Al-Balshy and Abdelrahim who were absent during the Press Syndicate case, since they were attending a press conference in Morocco from 30 April to 2 May.
Both, Qalash and Al-Balshy consider the trial an attempt to manipulate facts in order to depict the storming of the syndicate as an ordinary security measure.