An Egyptian court on Dec. 20 sentenced high-profile activist Alaa Abdel Fattah to five years in prison after convicting him of “broadcasting false news,” his sister said.
The State Security Misdemeanors Court in Cairo also convicted human rights lawyer Mohammed al-Baqer and blogger Mohammed “Oxygen” Ibrahim of the same charge and sentenced them to four years in prison, Abdel Fattah’s sister Mona Seif on Twitter said.
“The judge was too cowardly to even inform us,” Mona Seif said.
Egyptian state media reported that the three defendants were also sentenced “on charges of joining a terrorist group.”
The sentences cannot be appealed and require final approval by President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi.
Amnesty International’s regional offices in the Middle East and North Africa called for the release of the three men, describing the ruling “a travesty of justice and a reminder of Egypt’s ruthless crackdown on dissent.”
Committee for Justice Director Ahmed Mefreh said that the verdict was “a clear message from the government of President Sisi to the international community…that there will be no real change or amendment to the human rights situation in Egypt.”
Abdel Fattah, a software developer and blogger, was a leading figure in the 2011 uprising that unseated long-time President Hosni Mubarak.
Abdel Fattah, as well as al-Baqer and Ibrahim, were detained in a massive crackdown.
All three were held in a lengthy pre-trial detention without any knowledge on the charges set against them.
Under Egyptian law, pre-trial detention can last up to two years, but detainees are often held for longer periods of time.
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