Prosecutor General Tala’at Abdallah reversed on Sunday evening a decision to serve a resident of Minya 80 lashes for being drunk.
Hussein Anan, Matay Centre prosecutor in Minya governorate, ordered on Sunday afternoon the flogging of Mohamed Eid Ragab, stated Freedoms and Immunity Centre Director Mohamed Al-Hambolly.
Al-Hambolly said the centre received a phone call from a lawyer on Sunday at 3 pm, who said that a man had just been sentenced to 80 lashes for alcohol consumption.
Anan issued the decision based on verses 90 and 91 of Al-Ma’eda chapter in the Quran. Verse 90 states that alcohol and gambling are abominations of Satan, calling upon true believers to avoid them. Verse 91 states that it is Satan’s desire to incite enmity and hatred amongst believers through alcohol and gambling. Neither of the verses states that drinking is punishable by flogging.
Anan added in his decision that if the prosecution warden does not carry out the flogging sentence, he should be punished according to verses 40 and 41 of the same chapter. Al-Hambolly said this means that the warden would be punished by the Islamically-prescribed punishment for banditry.
“This decision is even more dangerous than the flogging sentence,” Al-Hambolly said.
He stated that upon hearing the news, they went to the head of the public prosecution in Minya to complain about the decision. “The director asked Anan to reverse it, yet he refused saying he was carrying out God’s teachings,” Al-Hambolly said.
Mahmoud Al-Hefnawy, the Prosecutor General Abdallah’s spokesperson, told independent channel Al-Hayat on Sunday that the prosecutor general referred Anan to the Judicial Inspection Department to investigate his decision. He was also relocated to the North Minya prosecution.
Ragab was released from custody. He could not be reached for comment, as he refused to communicate with any media outlets, according to Al-Hambolly.
“It is a wrong decision,” Al-Hefnawy said. “The law states that no crime or punishment can be recognised without a legal text.”
Al-Hefnawy stated that the law in Egypt doesn’t apply Islamic Shari’a, regardless of the constitution’s stance towards it.
“According to the penal code, no crime is punishable by flogging,” Al-Hambolly said. He added that though the decision is correct according to the constitution which follows Islamic Shari’a, it is incorrect according to the penal code.