Egypt Sentences Activist Alaa Abdel Fatah to 5 Years in Prison

Alaa Abdel Fatah was a prominent figure in the 2011 revolution that ousted former President Hosni Mubarak. The activist’s family have long decried the conditions of his years-long detention.

A court in Cairo sentenced Egyptian activist Alaa Abdel Fattah to five years in prison, his family confirmed on Monday.

The activist, who had been previously imprisoned for five years, was a major figure in the 2011 revolution, which led to the ouster of long-time former President Hosni Mubarak who had held power for three decades.

What is the latest?

Abdel Fattah has been held in detention since 2019 along with two others who were charged with “broadcasting false news.”

The other two convicted on Monday were the activist’s lawyer Mohamed al-Baqer and the blogger Mohamed “Oxygen” Ibrahim.

“Alaa was sentenced to five years, Baqer four years and Mohamed Oxygen four years,” the activist’s sister Mona Seif wrote on Twitter.

“The judge was too cowardly to even inform us,” she added.

Judicial sources confirmed the verdict to Reuters news agency and AFP.

The rulings cannot be appealed, but require final approval by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

Ahead of Monday’s verdict the German government called for a “fair trial” and the release of the three men. Egypt slammed the statement from Berlin as “a blatant and unjustified meddling in Egyptian internal affairs.”

Who is Alaa Abdel Fattah?

Abdel Fattah is a blogger and computer programmer who became a high-profile activist during the 2011 revolution in Egypt. He mobilized youths online in the uprising that ousted Mubarak.

His family family have long criticized the conditions of his pre-trial 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 of when we visit him or if he is going to prosecution or court,” his mother Leila Soueif said ahead of the hearing.

Under Egyptian law, the pre-trial detentions are allowed to last up to two years, but often last much longer.

Rights groups say that tens of thousands of people have been jailed amid a wide-reaching crackdown on political dissent under President el-Sisi.

rs/aw (AFP, Reuters)

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