Egypt hands journalist union head two years in prison

The ruling on against Yahia Kallash, head of the country's press union, and two others comes after a seven-month trial.

    The case marks the first time that a head of the journalists' syndicate has faced trial [EPA/TAREK WAJEH]
    The case marks the first time that a head of the journalists' syndicate has faced trial [EPA/TAREK WAJEH]

    An Egyptian court sentenced the head of a journalists' union and two board members to two years in prison for harbouring colleagues wanted by the law and spreading false news, judicial sources said.

    Yahia Kallash, president of the Egyptian Journalists' Syndicate, Gamal Abdel-Rahim and Khaled Elbalshy were charged in May with sheltering two journalists wanted over protests against the transfer of two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia. 

    Saturday's decision to sentence the journalists comes as authorities try to quell rising dissent against President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

    READ MORE: Into the cage - A journalist on trial in Egypt

    The court set bail at 10,000 Egyptian pounds ($615), a court official said.

    The journalists' lawyer, Sayyed Abou Zeid, at the time told the Reuters news agency that they denied the charges, which relate to a May 2 police raid on the Egyptian Journalists' Syndicate to arrest two opposition journalists who had sought shelter from arrest.

    Kallash condemned the arrests of Mahmoud El Sakka and Amr Badr, which sparked protests from journalists, and issued a statement two days later demanding the interior minister be sacked.

    Amnesty International urged the authorities to drop the charges against the union chiefs.

    The Committee to Protect Journalists has listed Egypt among the top jailers of journalists, and one of the most dangerous places to report from.

    In 2013, five Al Jazeera staff were imprisoned in the country on charges that rights groups said were trumped up. Though an international campaign secured their freedom, there are more than 70 journalists still in prison in the country.

    SOURCE: News Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Death from above: Every Saudi coalition air raid on Yemen

    Death from above: Every Saudi coalition air raid on Yemen

    Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia and a coalition of Arab states have launched more than 19,278 air raids across Yemen.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    How different voting systems work around the world

    How different voting systems work around the world

    Nearly two billion voters in 52 countries around the world will head to the polls this year to elect their leaders.