Egypt jails leading activist Alaa Abdel Fattah for five years

Egypt sentences Abdel Fattah, a leading figure in the 2011 revolution, to jail with two others for speaking ‘fake news’.

Alaa Abdel Fattah at his home in Cairo on May 17, 2019 [File: Khaled Desouki/AFP]

Prominent Egyptian activist Alaa Abdel Fattah has been sentenced to five years in prison, his sister and a judicial source said, after being tried on charges of spreading fake news.

Blogger Mohamed “Oxygen” Ibrahim and lawyer Mohamed El-Baqer, who faced the same charges, were sentenced to four years.

“Alaa was sentenced to five years, Baqer four years and Mohamed Oxygen four years,” his sister Mona Seif said on Twitter.

“The judge was too cowardly to even inform us,” she said after the sentencing at the State Security Misdemeanours Court in the capital.

A judicial source, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed the verdict and sentencing to the AFP news agency.

Rulings in the court cannot be appealed. They require final approval by President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

The three have been detained since September 2019. Abdel Fattah, a leading activist in the 2011 uprising that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak after three decades in power, had previously been imprisoned for five years.

Abdel Fattah’s family has complained about the conditions of his detention.

“He is denied access to books, a radio, a watch, and he is banned from walking (outside his prison cell). He does not leave his prison cell at all except for when we visit him or if he is going to prosecution or court,” Abdel Fattah’s mother Leila Soueif said before the hearing.

Since 2013, when then-army chief el-Sisi deposed President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, there has been a far-reaching crackdown on political dissent in Egypt, drawing criticism from human rights groups. Rights groups say tens of thousands of people have been jailed.

El-Sisi, president since 2014, says security and stability are paramount and denies there are political prisoners in Egypt.

Source: News Agencies