Egypt military court sentences former chief auditor Geneina to 5 years in prison for 'broadcasting false news'

El-Sayed Gamal El-Din , Tuesday 24 Apr 2018

Hisham Geneina was convicted for media comments he made in February relating to former military chief-of-staff Sami Anan

Egypt's former top auditor, Hisham Geneina (Reuters)

An Egyptian military court sentenced on Tuesday the former head of the Central Auditing Organisation Hisham Geneina to five years in prison for spreading false news about the Armed Forces and the country's internal affairs.

Geneina was arrested last February over an interview he gave to the HuffPost Arabi news website, where he claimed that former military chief Sami Anan possessed secret documents containing state secrets and evidence relating to major events since 2011.

Tuesday's sentence can be appealed before a military appeals court.

Geneina was a leading figure in Anan's short-lived 2018 presidential campaign, before Anan was barred from running in the elections by the National Elections Authority for being an active member of the armed forces.

Anan was later arrested and faced charges by military prosecutors of violating military rules in announcing his candidacy while still an active-duty officer.

In the interview, which took place after Anan’s arrest, Geneina said that these documents were kept abroad and would be released if any harm came to Anan.

Anan's lawyer had distanced his client from Geneina's claims, which he slammed as completely "unfounded" and "untrue."

On the other hand, Geneina's defense team later said that the statements he made during the HuffPost interview were the result of a “nervous imbalance” caused by an injury he sustained in late January after he was attacked and severely wounded in a street dispute.

Geneina was sacked in early 2016 as top auditor of the country's main anti-corruption agency after he claimed that widespread graft has cost Egypt $68 billion in four years.

He stood trial for spreading false information after the State Security Prosecution charged that his statements were misleading.

He was sentenced in late 2016 to a one-year suspended prison term after being convicted in a regular court of spreading false news.

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