New forensic evidence which undermines the criminal allegations and the detention of former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has been provided to his defence lawyers in Egypt and the United Nations.
Late last year a series of recordings surfaced which revealed an alleged conspiracy to fabricate evidence and manipulate legal proceedings which were being used by the military regime to discredit Egypt’s first democratically elected President and justify the military’s coup in June 2013.
The recordings which were distributed widely to media organisations were said to be conversations between senior key government and military figures. It was alleged that the high ranking officials included General Mamdouh Shahin, who is the legal advisor to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), speaking to other senior military and government personnel including, General Abbas Kamil, the manager of post-coup President Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi’s office.
The recordings revealed concern in the military regime that President Morsi’s lawyers were making legal arguments in relation to Morsi’s place of detention, which would see his imminent release and the dismissal of legal proceedings against him. The key figures in the recording planned to fabricate evidence in order to defeat the legal arguments. The recordings reveal boasts of senior officers that they are masters of falsifying evidence. The alleged plan was so elaborate that it included the redesign of an entire military barracks and the rewriting of historical records to suggest that President Morsi had always been lawfully detained in a civilian detention centre. The Egyptian military government has consistently questioned the authenticity of the recordings.
ITN solicitors, who advise the Muslim Brotherhood and the Freedom & Justice Party instructed leading independent forensic speech and acoustics experts J P French Associates to determine the identity of participants in the recordings and whether the recoding itself was authentic. J P French Associates are the UK’s longest established speech and acoustics lab in the UK and are regularly called on to provide evidence in high profile criminal cases on behalf of both the prosecution and defence.
The forensics team, led by world renowned forensic speech and acoustics expert Professor Peter French conducted an in-depth analysis of the leaked recordings. Professor French was asked to provide evidence to establish whether the main alleged participant in the recordings was in fact General Mamdouh Shahin, the legal advisor to the SCAF as had been widely alleged.
The report to be submitted for use in legal proceedings in Egypt found “strong support” that the main speaker was General Mamdou Shahin. The report states:
“In order to arrive at a conclusion, we have assessed the likelihood of finding the features in the questioned recordings if Mamdou Shahin were to have been the questioned speaker against the likelihood of finding them if the speaker were to have been another person.
In carrying out the task, we have considered the degree of similarity between the reference and questioned recordings. We have also considered the typicality or distinctiveness of the features found in the questioned recordings as this has a bearing on how many speakers of a comparable variety of the language might be expected to share these features.
On the basis of these assessments, our opinion is that the evidence provides strong support for the view that the questioned speaker is Mr Mamdou Shahin.”
In addition J P French associates carried out further analysis to establish the authenticity of the recordings. The report concluded:
“there are no indications that the spoken material in the recordings has been fabricated by editing together a large number of short speech segments or utterances. It would be very difficult to create a convincing conversation in this way. Further, the speech material displays the features of natural conversations that one would expect to encounter in a genuine recording.”
Leading human rights lawyer, Tayab Ali, said “These recordings have now been authenticated through the best forensic speech and acoustic analysis available anywhere in the world. By any measure, the evidence is compelling and should be enough to secure the immediate release of President Morsi. The evidence reveals a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice in Egypt and renders any other evidence presented to the Court as unreliable and tainted. If these proceedings were to meet internationally accepted standards of fairness and due process, it would be inconceivable that they would be allowed to proceed.”
Senior counsel Rodney Dixon QC who is acting in international proceedings for President Morsi and the Freedom and Justice Party said "The Egyptian authorities should immediately review President Morsi's detention and that of many thousands of his supporters still in custody, and release all prisoners who are being held on political grounds without any credible evidence. The mass imprisonment of all opposition without due process is an affront to justice and the rule of law. The AU and the UN should take urgent action to end these gross violations of international law."