Sunday,19 May, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1390, (19 - 25 April 2018)
Sunday,19 May, 2019
Issue 1390, (19 - 25 April 2018)

Ahram Weekly

Counting the cost

The military trial of Egypt’s former top auditor Hisham Geneina resumed Wednesday, reports Mona El-Nahhas


The trial of Hisham Geneina, former head of the Central Auditing Authority (CAA), resumed yesterday at a military court in Nasr City. Geneina faces charges of spreading false news in press statements that he made in February.

Interviewed by the Huffpost Arabi news website, Geneina referred to documentary evidence, held abroad, implicating current leaders of the state in wrongdoing.

The first hearing in Geneina’s case was held on 16 April. The court panel then adjourned the trial to allow the defendant’s defence team to review court papers and prepare a plea. Geneina’s lawyers say the two-day period allocated for the review and plea reparation is inadequate.

Geneina was remanded in custody pending investigations since his arrest on 13 February. Geneina’s detention followed accusations by the military prosecutor-general that the former auditor had threatened national security.

Last week military prosecutors referred Geneina to trial on the basis of Article 102 of the penal code which criminalises the intentional dissemination of false news, statements and rumours that threaten national security and harm public interest.

During the first trial the court ordered Geneina be transferred to Al-Manial Hospital so that a medical report could be prepared. Geneina’s family claim he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder following a 27 January attack close to his home during which he was seriously injured. The family argues any statements given by Geneina following the attack were done so in a state of diminished responsibility. 

Ali Taha, a member of Geneina’s defence team, said his client was referred to military trial because the statements he gave concerned the army.

Geneina told Huffpost Arabi that former Army Chief of Staff Sami Anan, who is currently held in a military prison, stored documents abroad that implicate military leaders in wrongdoing. Geneina was part of Anan’s presidential campaign team before Anan was excluded from the race.

A statement issued by military spokesman Tamer Al-Rifaai shortly before Geneina’s arrest said Geneina’s interview was intended to sow doubt in the mind of the public about the integrity of the state and its institutions. He added the Armed Forces would pursue all legal means to safeguard national security and maintain its reputation.

Taha insists his client is innocent of the charges since the information he relayed came from another source, a reference to Anan.

Anan denies he has any of the documents mentioned and has instructed his own lawyer to sue Geneina. As a former army leader, he is reputed to have said, he would never question the reputation of the Armed Forces.

Following a January announcement he would stand as a candidate in the presidential election Anan was charged with violating military regulations, having failed to first secure the approval of the Armed Forces for his candidacy. Anan is also accused of misrepresenting his military status and inciting against the army.

Anan’s lawsuit against Geneina accuses him of defaming the former army. It is currently being reviewed by military prosecutors.

Following the first session of the trial it was reported that Geneina’s family had asked Farid Al-Deeb to join the defence team. Al-Deeb represented former president Hosni Mubarak who had been accused of complicity in the deaths of protesters during the 2011 uprising. Mubarak was cleared of the charges in 2014.

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