State security court sentences former MP, two journalists to prison for 'destabilising public peace'

Amr Kandil , Ahram Online , Wednesday 17 Nov 2021

An Egyptian emergency state security misdemeanour court sentenced lawyer and former MP Ziad El-Eleimy to five years in prison on Wednesday for spreading false news on social media among other charges

Ziad El-Eleimy. File

The court also sentenced journalists Hossam Mones and Hisham Fouad to four years in prison on the same charges.

El-Eleimy served as an MP representing the Egyptian Social Democrartic Party in the 2012 Parliament.

The prosecution charged the 13 defendants with crimes including cooperating with a group established in violation of the law, disseminating false news and information about the political and economic conditions in the country in order to destabilise public peace and undermine trust in state institutions.

In June 2019, El-Eleimy, Mones and Fouad and the rest of the defendants in the case were arrested for what the interior ministry described at the time as a hostile plot dubbed ‘Hope Cell’ to “disrupt the national economy.”

In the same case, Activists Mohamed Bahnasy and Hossam Nasser received three years. Meanwhile, Labour activist Fatma Abul-Maaty received a three-year sentence in absentia.

The court also imposed a fine of EGP 500 on all defendants in the case.

The ruling is final and cannot be appealed.

Unlike ordinary courts, emergency state security court rulings cannot be appealed.

The defendants, however, have the right to petition for clemency.

In April last year, a Cairo criminal court said the terrorist-designated Muslim Brotherhood leaders had tasked members and associates of the group in Egypt, including the Hope Cell defendants, with providing logistical support and weapons to carry out the scheme against the state.

According to the court, the plot sought to "provide financial support for hostile actions against the Egyptian state with the aim of harming national interests and economic security, and carrying out aggressive actions against the army and the police to topple the regime."

In July of this year, the Court of Cassation upheld a ruling placing the 13 defendants in the case on the country's terrorism list for five years.

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