Alaa Abdel Fattah, central figure in the 2011 uprising in Egypt, already in pre-trial detention, was sentenced to five years in prison by a Cairo emergency court for “Dissemination of false information”, announced his sister, Mona Seif, on Twitter, Monday December 20. The verdict cannot be appealed.
Two other activists were sentenced to four years in prison for the same charges: Mohamed Al-Baqer, the former lawyer of Mr. Abdel Fattah, and blogger Mohamed Ibrahim, alias Oxygen.
Already seven years behind bars
Nicknamed “The icon of the revolution” of 2011 which ousted President Hosni Mubarak from power, Mr. Abdel Fattah has already been the subject of several convictions. He was imprisoned under the regimes of the autocrat Hosni Mubarak, his Islamist successor Mohamed Morsi (2012-2013) and the current head of state, Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi. In pre-trial detention for over two years, he has spent a total of seven years in prison since 2013. In October, a collection of articles by Mr. Abdel Fattah published since 2011 was published, under the title You haven’t been defeated yet.
Mr. Abdel Fattah, political activist and computer programmer, was arrested in 2013 after an unauthorized demonstration. He was accused of having organized a “Illegal demonstration”, “Caused a riot” and “Hit a police officer and stole his radio transmitter”. However, he continued to express himself on social networks, defending in particular the rights of other former prisoners, forced to spend their nights behind bars after the end of their prison sentence.
The United States, which has already frozen 10% of its aid because of the repeated human rights violations it accuses of this allied country, expressed its ” disappointment “ about those convictions. “Journalists, human rights defenders and all those who want to exercise their freedom of expression peacefully should be able to do so without risking” from “Retaliation”US diplomacy spokesman Ned Price said, saying US-Egyptian ties would end “Reinforced” improvement on this front in Egypt.
Released under judicial supervision in March 2019, Mr. Abdel Fattah was arrested with his lawyer, Mr.e Baqer, in September of the same year. Both men had been added to the list “Terrorist” Cairo at the end of 2020. Mr. Ibrahim, founder of the blog “Oxygen Egypt”, was also arrested in 2019 after posting videos on social media relating to anti-government protests, according to Amnesty International.
Under Egyptian law, the length of pre-trial detention cannot exceed two years, but in practice detainees can stay longer behind bars.
Sixty thousand prisoners of conscience
In an editorial published by the New York Times Saturday, his mother had lamented that “The world looks away” after having been “Once inspired by Egyptian revolutionaries”. “His crime, like millions of young people in Egypt and elsewhere, was to believe that another world was possible. And he had the courage to try to make it possible ”, she wrote.
On Saturday, the German government called for the release of the three activists, hoping for a ” fair trial “. Egypt, for its part, denounced a “Flagrant and unjustified interference in internal affairs” from the country.
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), which considers bloggers to be journalists, dismissed the verdict, ruling it “Unacceptable”. “The sentencing of Alaa Abdel Fattah and Mohamed Oxygen to years in prison is unacceptable and shows how far the authorities are ready to go to punish these journalists for their work”said Sherif Mansour, CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa coordinator, who called for their “Immediate release”.
Since coming to power, following the dismissal of Mohamed Morsi in the summer of 2013, President Sisi has been accused by international human rights NGOs of carrying out an all-out repression against opponents and defenders of human rights. human rights. According to them, Egypt has more than 60,000 prisoners of conscience.
The government denies and emphasizes maintaining stability in the country. The Egyptian authorities regularly accuse local and international NGOs of benefiting from questionable funding and of acting on the basis of political motives against the interests of Cairo.
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Alaa Abdel Fattah, figure of the Egyptian revolution, sentenced to five years in prison