Gehad was charged for inciting violence. A criminal court in Egypt sentenced him to life imprisonment in two separate cases. One case is known as the “Rabaa Operations Room” case, which concluded on April 11, 2015. The other case is known as the “Conspiracy with Foreign Agencies” case, which concluded on June 16, 2015. The charges against him included:
- disseminating false information for the purpose of harming national security;
- belonging to a banned group (namely the Muslim Brotherhood);
- conspiring with foreign agencies against national interests.
The prosecution has not presented sufficient evidence against either Essam or Gehad for their charges. Moreover, the Nelson Mandela Rules which explicitly state that “every prisoner shall have the right, and shall be given the ability and means, to inform immediately his or her family, or any other person designated as a contact person, about his or her imprisonment, about his or her transfer to another institution” were grossly violated. Beyond the violation of the Mandela Rules, these practices violate Egypt’s own Prison Regulations, which oblige prison authorities to allow prisoners to communicate with their relatives when being moved to another prison. These rights were not granted to either Essam or Gehad by the Egyptian state authority. The cases of Essam and Gehad represent gross violations of human rights and procedural fairness at the hands of the Egyptian state.
- “Rab’a’s Operations Room Case”
The first trial is case no. 317 for the year 2013 known as “Rabaa’s operations room”, he is being tried for spreading lies and trying to cause chaos. According to the case evidence list the evidence against Gehad is that he “conducted three interviews for the New York Times, an American TV channel (PBS), and a Spanish newspaper (elmundo)” (hyperlinks to the interviews listed as evidence).
In April 11, 2015 Gehad El-Haddad was sentenced to life in prison in this case because he was found guilty for speaking to foreign journalists. Fourteen defendants received death sentences while thirty seven including Gehad were sentenced to life in prison. Among the convicted are 15 journalists. The verdict was appealed and the retrial began in March 1st, 2016 and is still ongoing.
Gehad has been acquitted of these charges.
- “Espionage Case”
The second case is no. 371 for the year 2013 known as “conspiracy with Hamas” or the Espionage case. Beside the usual charge of affiliating with an outlawed group, Gehad is accused with “communicating with the West against Egypt’s national security” according to case documents.
According to the case papers, the evidence for this accusation is Gehad’s formal visit to Norway among an Egyptian multi-party delegation in April 2011. The visit was organized by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and aimed to “promote cultural exchange between youth and mutual knowledge and understanding” according to a statement issued by the Ministry. It included visiting the Norwegian parliament, universities and think tanks. It also included a meeting with the Norwegian Minister for International Affairs.
According to the case file, among the delegation were activists from both Hamdeen Sabahi and El- Baradie Presidential campaigns at the time. The Norwegian Ministry released a statement with the meeting agenda and who attended the meeting which completely renounces the allegations against Gehad.
In addition, Gehad was mentioned in the case in communications with Forward Thinking, a UK-based think tank which conducts joint projects with the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, and which was accused to be an Umbrella for “secret goals and activities that serve intelligence bodies in EU countries in association with the US and Israel and other Western countries.”. Forward Thinking which is formally registered in the UK issued a statement that renounces these claims.
On June 16, 2015 Gehad was sentenced to life in prison upon these charges. The court will decide in June 2016 whether it will accept Gehad’s appeal to the verdict.
On May 8, 2017 Gehad was acquitted from all charges in case 317.