Statement regarding tomorrow’s expected #NGOtrial verdict.
Greetings from Cairo… Tomorrow is supposed to be the verdict in the now 18-month long NGO trial in Egypt.
Given the tumultuous changes we have all seen throughout Egypt over the past year-and-a-half, we simply do not know what to expect, but we all just want it over.
For the fifteen of us (13 Egyptians, 1 German, and myself) still in Egypt, tomorrow will be a bit anti-climatic. According to Egyptian law we were legally compelled to be in the court for all of the hearings, but not legally compelled to be in the court for the reading of the verdict.
Personally, I will once again ignore my lawyer’s advice and will be in Egypt. I was told it would be best for me to go home, so that is exactly where I will be… home, in Cairo.
If evidence matters in an Egyptian court, tomorrow’s verdict will be not guilty. The government witnesses for the prosecution never focused their testimony on the actual charges against us, instead using their 15-minutes of “fame” to complain about the United States.
On my specific charges of forming an illegal NGO, my lawyer did an excellent job of establishing that first, the NGO was in fact legal under Egyptian law, and second, I arrived in 2011, while the NGO was formed in 2005 (Closing argument threads here, here and here).
But this case has been political from the very beginning; so guilty is also real possibility, despite the lack of evidence. We put our faith in the judges and their independence from politics to look solely at the evidence and rule accordingly.
Regardless of the verdict, we anticipate appeals. If found not guilty, the prosecution will no doubt appeal and the case could linger for years. Obviously our lawyers will appeal should the ruling go against us.
Tomorrow we will all await our fate with family and friends. I originally found out I was charged with two “paperwork” felony counts of “teaching” via Twitter. I suspect Twitter will inform me of my legal fate again.
I am honored to have stood in a cage for a dozen hearings this past year-and-a-half with my colleagues Rawda Saeed, Hafsa Halawa, Mohamed El-Wakeel, Amged Gazal and the other equally courageous Egyptians.
They are my brothers and sisters and personal heroes, and no trial verdict will break that bond.
Tomorrow evidence will matter. Insha’Allah.