The Cairo Criminal Court recused itself on Tuesday from trying Counsellor Hesham Genena, former Editor-in-Chief of Al-Masry Al-Youm Magdy Al-Galad, and Editor Mohamed Al-Sanhoury, according to state-run Al-Ahram.
The three were referred to the criminal court on 11 November for public defamation of the Judges’ Club.
The supreme judicial council had previously delegated Investigative Judge Khalil Omar to investigate the incident after head of the Judges’ Club Ahmed Al-Zend filed a complaint against Al-Masry Al-Youm accusing it of defamation.
The investigations revealed that, during his interview with Al-Masry Al-Youm, Hesham Genena insulted the head and board of directors of the Judges’ Club and defamed them, which prompted Omar to refer him and others to the Urgent Matters Criminal Court.
According to the referral order, “Al-Galad is being tried for failing to perform the duty imposed by law, which stipulates that the editor should oversee the interview. Due to Al-Galad not following proper protocol of editing phrases that constitute a violation of the law”, he will be referred to trial.
Genena was the former Chairman of the Appeals Court and was appointed by ousted President Mohamed Morsi as head of the Central Auditing Organisation.
The Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) had previously expressed its “astonishment” regarding the “lack of accommodation by the judges to receive criticism”, after the referral of Al-Galad, Genena, Al-Sanhoury to the criminal court on Monday.
In a statement, the organisation said: “Instead of opposing trials against freedom of expression and publishing rights, we now have a number of judges aiming to prosecute journalists after an interview of an individual whose role is to combat corruption.”