For those who are not familiar with this case, please go here , here , here , here and here for background information. For those who are, this is what happend today:
Today was the first session of the case at the new court, the sixth district court, to cover the case of Judge Mourad against the 21 websites. The Judge was supported by the Hesbah lawyers of the AbdelKarim case (they are trying to add his blog to the list of banned websites), and our side was supported, by, like many many many people, including the government. Imagine that. The Ministery of telecomunication sent a lawyer that was, for the lack of a better word, excellent. But more on that Later.
Judge Mourad presented his case, which was a whole lot of Bullshit. His first line of argument was that he was being attacked and slanderd by those evil websites, which is something that could happen to any Judge (Hint hint, presiding Judges, hint hint), and that he faces a very organized campaign of attack and slander against him since day one. His case then became that those websites and organizations insult the Quran, God, The President and the country, and some of them are funded by "foreign sources" that give them "bags of dollars" to help them continue to defame the country. He asked the court to demand from the NGO's a detailed account of where their funding comes from and then presented posts and pirnted webpages to support his claims. He also demanded that the court makes the sessions private and not allow publishing anything in the newspapers on the case.
Then our side striked back.
Gamal Eid from HR Info presented the plagarsim document, and made a very elequont case that this is very much a private vendetta thing and an attempt by the Judge to hide his plagarism, and has nothing to do with defending Egypt. He also wanted the Judges to ignore the gag order and continue nmaking this case as public as possible, since the man just publcially defamed them in court.
The Government Lawyer made a very detailed argument that a) It's practically impossible to block a website, since there are proxies that can access it, and b) That it makes no sense to block every website someone defames somebody on, and made the analogy that if a wrietr in a newspaper insults someone in his writing, the newspaper doesn't get shut down and c) that the Judge has no business telling the government which websites to block and which not to, and that if thatd oor gets opend, everyday someone will demand the pulling of a website, and they do not have the time, energy or respources to investigate every single one and block it , given that they know how futile it is.
The Judge then announced that he will make his decisions on the demands known at the end of the session, then came out with a decision to move the next sesion to the 5th of may and to ignore the Judge's demand for a gag order. The thing that makes you very optimistic is that the Judges seemed to really know the case and what's at stake and weren't exactly friendly to the Judge. So there is hope and a very good chance that this case could be very well thrown out.
After the session was over, a small but heated argument started between The Hesbah Lawyer and Alaa and Gamal Eid, given that the Lawyer was a witness at a police report accusing Manal and Alaa of insulting Judge Mourad the last hearing. This is bullshit, because, well, Manal wasn't even there. She had left at 10 am and the scuffle that took place last hearing where the alledged insulting happend, occured around 1:30 pm. The Hesbah Islamic lawyer, with his beard and all of his Koran spouting skills, is a liar and Alaa told him that to his face. Not that it matters of course. The man has no conscience!
It feels weird though to be on the same side of the government. Not sure that I am going to get used to that feeling.