Egypt Sentences 3 Human Rights Activists to Prison
CAIRO — An Egyptian court sentenced three prominent human rights figures to years in prison on Monday on charges of spreading false news, in a high-profile case that suggested that the government had not scaled back its crackdown on dissent.
The State Security Emergency Misdemeanor court sentenced the activist Alaa Abd El Fattah to five years in prison and the rights lawyer Mohamed el-Baqer and the blogger Mohamed Ibrahim, better known as Mohamed Oxygen, to four years each, Mr. Abd El Fattah’s mother, Leila Soueif, confirmed from the courtroom on Monday.
Local and international rights groups have described the charges as politically motivated. The verdicts cannot be appealed.
Their arrests came in 2019 after a rare wave of protests against the government of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, triggered by allegations of corruption by a former collaborator with the military. Thousands were arrested in connection with the protests.
Mr. Abd El Fattah, a software engineer who emerged as one of the most well-known faces of the 2011 uprising that brought down the country’s longtime leader, Hosni Mubarak, after 30 years in power, has spent much of the last 10 years in prison.
He was arrested in September 2019 at a police station, where he had to spend his nights as part of his conditional release after serving a five-year sentence for illegal protest, according to his lawyers and his family.
Mr. el-Baqer was arrested on the same day, when he tried to observe the investigation into Mr. Abd El Fattah. Mr. Ibrahim has also spent much of the past four years in pretrial detention on different cases. Earlier this year, his lawyers said he attempted suicide after months of being deprived of visits in prison.
Mr. Abd El Fattah’s younger sister and activist, Sanaa, is currently serving an 18-month sentence on charges of spreading false news and insulting a police officer.