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Court Case Spotlight
Implications for Rights and Freedoms

Muhammad Ramadan Case

Court / Presiding Judge

"First Review: Alexandria Criminal Court
Retrial (for defendant sentenced in absentia): Alexandria Criminal Court"

Procedural History

On April 12, 2017, the court issued its first verdict. As the defendant was sentenced in absentia, his retrial has since been ordered and is ongoing.

Verdict

Upon initial review, the court sentenced Muhammad Ramadan to 10 years in prison, followed by a five-year house arrest and a five-year social media ban. The verdict in his retrial has not yet been issued.

Summary of Reasoning

Human rights lawyer Mohamed Ramadan faces charges of insulting the president, misusing social media, and inciting violence for his alleged Facebook posts.

Anecdotal Notes

Ramadan was prosecuted and sentenced using Egypt’s new Counter-terrorism Law No. 94 of 2015 in one of the first-ever applications of the law. The case also constituted one of the first times in which a defendant was punished with a social media ban.

Legal & Judicial Implications

The fact that human rights lawyer Ramadan was tried using the new Counter-terrorism Law in one of the first cases in which the law was actually applied raises serious questions on whether the Counter-terrorism Law was enshrined to combat terrorism or to crackdown on peaceful, independent voices. Ramadan’s trial and the application of the Counter-terrorism Law to the work of a human rights lawyer and human rights defender raises violations to the right to freedom of expression and due process, both of which are protected by Egypt’s domestic and international legal obligations.