A design calling for releasing Egyptian engineer Ali Salem – Courtesy of the Freedom for Ali Facebook page
CAIRO – 2 January 2020: The charges against Egyptian engineer Ali Salem, who has been detained in Qatar for months, are totally fabricated and have no legal basis, his renowned lawyer Taher al-Khouly said, according to a video published on Wednesday by a Facebook page calling for releasing Salem.
A close reading of the indictment against Khouly cannot be relied on in judgment, said Khouly, a lawyer who represented Khairy Ramadan, a TV host who faced accusations of insulting police in 2018.
While Qatari outlets largely ignore the issue, Egyptian media reports revealed that Salem, a director for the technical sector in beIN Sports TV network, which is a subsidiary of Qatari Al-Jazeera media network, faces charges of spying for Egypt and Saudi Arabia to help the piracy of beIN Sports.
As espionage means harming the economic, political and military affairs of the country, the allegations Salem faces should not be considered an espionage case, Khouly said.
The plaintiff in the case is a private company not a state institution, Khouly said, adding that Salem’s alleged misconduct should be considered a breach to the employment contract not espionage.
Egyptian businessman Ahmed Abu Hashima has denounced the arrest in October, saying in an interview with TV presenter Amr Adib that the indictment of Salem over espionage charges proves that Al-Jazeera network is a "military intelligence organization" rather than a commercial civilian one.
"I work in a professional manner and use the best human cadres in my job, and I knew that sports channels are the locomotive to promote the media system as a whole, and tried to provide a distinctive sports media service for the Egyptian people," Abu Hashima said, referring to ON Sport channel.
An Egyptian-British legal team, along with the International Labor Organization (ILO) and a number of human rights organizations, will file lawsuits against Qatar and beiN Sports, to demand the release of the accused Egyptians, he said.
"The dignity of the Egyptians abroad is part of the dignity of 100 million Egyptians," Abu Hashima said, calling the arrest of the two Egyptians as "manifest injustice."
Al-Jazeera aims to establish "political sports colonialism to influence Arab public opinion," he added.