There has been virtually no coverage in the Australian media of the Egyptian court case of Mootaz Attia Mohamed Hasan, also known as Abu Quassey [see our earlier report]. Quassey has been charged with the manslaughter of 350 people who lost their lives in October 2001 when their overloaded boat (SIEVX) sank en route to Australia.
This morning, Walkley award winning journalist, Ghassan Nakhoul of SBS Arabic Radio went to air with the news that the hearing has been postponed for a second time and is not due to resume until 27 September.
According to Nakhoul, the rules governing contempt of court are much more stringent in Egypt, which may explain the low profile of the case in the media to date. Indeed, the Egyptian newspaper Al Gomhuria has been Nakhoul's primary source of information.
Nakhoul provided sievx.com with the highlights of the coverage of Saturday's hearing by Al Gomhuria (14/9).
Quassey's lawyer cast doubts on the investigations conducted by Australian authorities - the file of which has been received by Egypt.
The defence counsel maintained that the Australian investigations were deficient and contradictory and based on assumptions. It was stated that there was no documentary evidence which linked Quassey to the boat (SIEVX) or that showed he was responsible for the fatal voyage.
When the hearing resumes on 27 September, it will be the prosecutor's turn to be heard.
At this stage there must be some doubt as to whether the case will actually proceed to trial in Egypt.