FILE- The National Election Authority conference announces the 2018 presidential election timeline - Egypt Today/ Amr Moustafa
CAIRO – 4 February 2018: Dozens of politicians and Human rights activists have been sued by two Egyptian lawyers, Samir Sabry and Tarek Mahmoud, after their calls to boycott the 2018 presidential election.
The two lawyers accused them of inciting the public against the state, harming its institutions, spreading the spirit of suspicion, frustration and strife between the people and the institutions of the state, and launching a campaign of deliberate distortion to harm the security of Egypt and its national economy.
The renowned lawyers have filed the complaint to the Attorney General and the Supreme State Security Prosecution against these figures, asking to ban them from leaving the country after their calls to boycott the 2018 presidential election.
The case was against 2012 presidential candidates Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh and Hamdeen Sabahi; the nephew of assassinated Egyptian President Anwar Esmat al-Sadat, Mohamed Anwar Sadat; the current leader of the Constitution Party of Egypt, Khaled Dawoud; a member of the Coalition for Revolutionary Youth, Hazem Hosni; NASA space scientist and former advisor to interim president Adli Mansour, Essam Heggi; political science professor, Farid Zahran; former chairman of the Central Auditing Authority, Hisham Geneina; and prominent opposition figures including Medhat al-Zahid, Ahmed El Borai, Amr Helmy, George Ishaq, Ahmed Darrag, Shady El-Ghazaly Harb, Abdel Galil Mostafa.
In his complaint, Sabry stated that those names have committed the crime of disrupting the Constitution, so they should receive a penalty of imprisonment for five years, especially as the elections were mentioned by the Constitution, and therefore the boycott of the election comes as a call to disrupt the constitutional provisions.
Article 98 B of the penal code stipulates that “detonation for a period not exceeding five years and paying a fine of not less than 50 [Egyptian] pounds ($2.83) and not exceeding 500 pounds shall be the penalty inflicted on whoever propagates in the Republic of Egypt, by any means, the call for changing the basic principles of the constitution or the basic system of the social community.”
He also stated that the calls to boycott the election are illegitimate, as Article 102 of the penal code states that “detonation and paying a fine of not less than 50 pounds shall be inflicted on whoever deliberately diffuses news, information/data, or false statements or rumors, or propagates exciting the public, if this is liable to disturb public security, cast horror among the people, or cause harm and damage to public interest.”
Mahmoud, the second lawyer, stated that he filed the complaint after these figures held a press conference on June 30 calling to boycott the upcoming presidential elections which is against the state
Members of the Democratic Civil Movement have called on Egyptians to boycott the March presidential election.
The appeal was made during a press conference on Tuesday at the headquarters of the Nasserist Karama Party.
Comprised of seven leftist and liberal parties, and 150 political figures, the Democratic Civil Movement was founded in December of last year to define a unified stance regarding the presidential election.
The National Election Authority (NEA) stated that President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and head of Al-Ghad Party Moussa Moustafa Moussa have applied to run in the presidential election.
Five candidates who announced their intentions to run for the presidency have dropped out. Former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafik, rights lawyer Khaled Ali, Parliamentarian Mortada Mansour, and Mohamed al-Sadat, nephew of assassinated Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat, withdrew from the race. Former Military Chief of Staff Sami Anan, who is still under military call-up service, is held by the military over accusations of forgery, as he announced running in the presidential election without gaining prior permission from the Armed Forces.
Voting in the 2018 presidential election in Egypt will commence on March 26, as announced by the NEA on January 8. Sixty million eligible voters will cast their ballots in the election between March 26 and 28 in Egypt, while Egyptians living abroad will vote between March 16 and 18.