A Dokki appeals court in Giza adjourned on Wednesday the appeal filed by rights lawyer and presidential hopeful Khaled Ali against a three-month prison sentence on charges of offending public decency, to March 7.
The appeal was adjourned due to the non-attendance of three Union of Radio and Television (Maspero) technical experts who were scheduled to examine the authenticity of the videos allegedly showing Ali committing an “obscene gesture” in public – which Ali claims were fake.
The court fined each expert LE 400 for their court absence.
In their absence on Wednesday, the court heard three witnesses deny that Ali had committed the gesture.
Tight security measures were imposed around the court due to the high-profile nature of the case, and the judge prohibited filming the session.
One of the videos submitted to court as evidence against the lawyer allegedly shows him carried by protesters and leading chants outside the Supreme Administrative Court, after it issued a ruling stating that Tiran and Sanafir islands were Saudi Arabian territory.
In the video, Ali appears to raise his middle finger towards the Supreme Administrative Court, following their controversial ruling.
Ali had previously denied making obscene gestures, claiming that the videos submitted to the prosecution as evidence were edited.
He also claimed that the case against him is a political move made in response to his presidential bid, and the lawsuit he previously filed seeking to invalidate the maritime demarcation deal with Saudi Arabia.
The three witnesses who attended to court on Wednesday, Mohamed Samy, Safaa Elleithy and Magda Khairallah, are editorial experts and cinema directors.
Samy affirmed to the court that the video showing Ali making an indecent gesture was clearly edited, saying a middle finger was edited onto Ali’s left hand.
The judge asked Samy for his opinion in the report of the Union of Radio and Television (Maspero) experts, which argued that the video cannot be manipulated.
Samy replied saying that there were hundreds of specialized technical programs in video editing, adding that even before the emergence of these programs there were deception techniques used by directors in films.
The two other witnesses reaffirmed Samy’s opinion, saying that an additional finger is edited onto Ali’s hand in the video. The added finger has a lighter color than the rest of Ali’s fingers and is disproportionately larger in proportion to the size of his hand.
Ali further elaborated his thoughts on the forces driving the move, explaining that Sada al-Balad Channel – which originally broadcast the video – was owned by businessman Mohamed Aboul Enein.
Ali revealed he has a dispute with Aboul Enein, as Ali represented a number of former workers of the channel in lawsuits against it.
In court, Ali said that television host Ahmed Moussa, who broadcast the video on his program on Sada al-Balad, had previously broadcast fake videos.
“They are [fabricating videos] against me because I am the lawyer of workers,” he told the judge. “This case was fabricated because I plan running for president.”
Initially, it was lawyer Samir Sabry who filed a lawsuit against Ali to the Attorney General’s office, accusing him of making a gesture with his middle finger publicly.