- Middle East/North Africa
The Cairo Criminal Court (CCC) ruled on Thursday not to release former Radio and Television Union head Osama al-Sheikh from prison, despite the Court of Cassation’s decision to reverse the verdict finding him guilty of squandering public funds. The CCC advised that Sheikh be retried before another court.
Sheikh appeared before the court wearing a blue prison uniform and walking with a crutch. When he left, his relatives made victory signs.
Sheikh’s defense team includes a number of prominent lawyers, including Nabieh al-Wahsh and Mortada Mansour.
The defense claimed there was no justification for Sheikh's detention and that he was in poor health. Furthermore, the defense argued that Sheikh did not pose a flight risk as he had a fixed and known place of residence and there is a travel ban in place preventing him from leaving the country.
Defense lawyers also cited Article 151 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which states: “The length of police custody in the first stage of investigation shall not exceed one third of the sentence.”
Sheikh has now been in prison for 22 months, which constitutions a violation of that article, Mansour argued.
The lawyer also claimed that his client had declined the opportunity to earn millions of dollars to work abroad so that he could remain in Egypt and serve his country. Sheikh had previously been found guilty of squandering public funds by granting contracts to air football games and TV serials without getting approval from the necessary pricing and regulation boards. Mansour argued that the defendant had granted those contracts to make the Egyptian people happy.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm