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Furthermore, Pierre was denied the presumption of innocence: 4 days after the arrest, Egyptian authorities allowed news cameras to film Pierre at the prison and to proclaim him a drug trafficker, before he had even seen a judge.
Despite the fact that he was in custody during his trial, he was not brought to court by the police. Pierre was tried, convicted and sentenced to a 25-year term in his absence. Pierre appealed against his conviction and sentence and was granted a retrial, but his sentence was of 25 years in prison and a fine of LE 500,000. Pierre intends to appeal this conviction. After two and a half years in a Cairo prison, Pierre has been moved repeatedly and is currently being held in a prison in Alexandria.
Pierre and Philippe were arrested outside a shopping centre in a suburb of Cairo. They were searched, as was their car, but police found nothing illegal. Police claim to have had Pierre under surveillance, but had to be directed by Pierre to his house, which they searched while Pierre and Phillipe were in the car. Police claim to have found cocaine in the house, which they allege was intended for sale. Pierre and his brother maintain that to their knowledge there were not, in fact, any drugs in the house, which was shared by multiple people.
Pierre reports that, following their arrest, he and his brother were taken to a police station in Cairo where they were beaten and handcuffed to a stairwell and denied food, water, access to toilet facilities and sleep for approximately two days. Despite requesting the presence of a solicitor, a lawyer was denied during interrogation. Exhausted and weak and told that his younger brother would be given the death penalty or a 25-year sentence, Pierre was coerced into confessing to the importation and sale of large quantities of cocaine in Egypt. His brother was subsequently released and police later denied he was ever arrested. Pierre has since withdrawn the confession and maintains that he is not guilty of any criminal offence. His interpreter during interrogation was blind and unable to translate the documents and confessions that Pierre signed.
Police accounts of the arrest vary and contradict each other. Pierre and Phillipe were arrested in the early evening outside a shopping centre, but police reports stated that the two were arrested four hours later in an area 20 kilometres away. Police claimed that drugs were found in Pierre’s car, when none in fact were found. Police even denied arresting Phillipe at all after his release, although the head of security at the shopping mall where Pierre and Phillipe were arrested has given a statement attesting to the fact that both Pierre and Phillipe were arrested and searched and nothing found. The arrest warrant police used was not issued until a couple of hours after the arrest actually took place.
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