Activist Alaa Abdel Fattah has been sentenced to five years in prison, after an Egyptian court found him guilty of “spreading false news undermining national security, and using social media to commit a publishing offense.”
Alongside Abdel Fattah, human rights lawyer Mohammed al-Baqer and online personality Mohammed “Oxygen” Ibrahim were served four years for the same allegations.
All three have been in pre-trial detention by Egyptian authorities since September 2019, after a wave of anti-government demonstrations. The three activists were among a reported 2,000 detained by security forces taken into custody during these protests.
The Arab Network for Human Rights expressed concern that Ibrahim was deprived of lawyer counsel and family visitations since February 2020. Similarly, Human Rights Watch noted that the three men faced “horrific” conditions while at Tora prison.
Referral to the Emergency State Security court for trial came late October 2021, marking their period of detention as “more than is allowed under Egyptian law.” Emergency court verdicts are not permissible for appeal, and are approved directly by the Egyptian president.
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s cabinet has been cracking down on dissent, which has garnered allegations of suppression from government critics.
The President has denied the accusations, maintaining that there are no political prisoners in Egypt presently.