Alaa Abdel Fattah: Leading Egyptian activist jailed for five years

An Egyptian court has sentenced leading activist Alaa Abdel Fattah to five years in prison after convicting him of spreading false news, his sister says.

Human rights lawyer Mohammed al-Baqer and blogger Mohammed “Oxygen” Ibrahim were also jailed for four years on the same charge, Mona Seif tweeted.

They have been detained since September 2019, when the authorities cracked down on rare anti-government protests.

Human rights groups had called the charges spurious and the trial a sham.

Human rights groups have accused President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi’s government of suppressing any form of dissent since he led the military’s overthrow of his predecessor Mohammed Morsi in 2013. They say tens of thousands of government critics, including activists and human rights lawyers, have been detained arbitrarily.

Amnesty International said Monday’s verdict was a “travesty of justice” while the Committee to Protect Journalists called it “unacceptable”.

Alaa Abdel Fattah, 40, a software developer and blogger, first rose to prominence during the 2011 uprising that forced long-time President Hosni Mubarak to resign.

Two years later, after Mr Sisi came to power, he was arrested for organising a protest in defiance of a new law that banned unauthorised demonstrations. He was subsequently sentenced to five years in prison and was released on probation in March 2019.

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