Egypt: prison term for activist Alaa Abdel Fattah

An Egyptian court on Dec. 20 sentenced prominent activist Alaa Abd El Fattah to five years in prison after he was convicted on charges of "spreading false news undermining national security." Alongside Abd El Fattah, the New Cairo Emergency State Security Misdemeanour Court also sentenced human rights lawyer Mohamed El-Baqer and blogger Mohammed "Oxygen" Ibrahim to four years each in Case 1228/2021. All three defendants faced charges concerning their social media posts on human rights violations. Both Abd El Fattah and his lawyer El-Baqer had been held in pretrial detention for more than the legal limit of two years. Verdicts issued by the emergency court cannot be appealed. Human rights groups have criticized the use of "emergency trials," due process violations, and general repression of freedom of expression in Egypt under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's government.

From Jurist, Dec. 21. Used with permission.

Note: Alaa Abd El Fattah was released from prison in March 2019 after serving a five-year term for organizing illegal protests, but was arrested again on the new charges that September. 

Egypt: authorities free human rights figures after pardon

Egyptian authorities released human rights researcher Patrick George Zaki and human rights lawyer Mohamed el-Baqer on July 20, one day after President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi granted pardons to both men.

These pardons came after Zaki's conviction on charges of disseminating false information, which resulted in a three-year prison sentence. The charges were related to an article he authored in 2019, titled "Displacement, Killing, and Restrictions: A Week in the Diaries of Egypt's Copts," where he shared his experiences as a Coptic Egyptian. Zaki was arrested at Cairo International Airport in 2019 upon his return from Italy and subsequently spent 22 months in pre-trial detention. (Jurist)