Egypt's top court upholds 7-year sentence against Islamist preacher Abu Ismail

Ahram Online , Tuesday 14 Apr 2015

Hazem Salah Abu Ismail, once a popular TV preacher, was convicted in April 2014 of forging presidential candidacy documents

Hazem Salah Abu-Ismail
In this Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015 file photo, one-time potential presidential candidate Egyptian Muslim cleric Hazem Salah Abu-Ismail, center, appears in a courtroom accompanied by policemen, in Cairo, Egypt (Photo: AP)

Egypt's top court has rejected an appeal by an ultraconservative Islamist and ally of deposed president Mohamed Morsi, upholding his seven-year sentence for forging official documents to run for presidency in 2012, a judicial source has said.

Hazem Salah Abu Ismail, once a popular TV preacher among young Islamists, was convicted in April 2014 of forging documents to the election commission to conceal his late mother's US citizenship, an action that led to him being disqualified from the race. He was sentenced to seven years in prison over the accusations that he denied.

On Tuesday, the Court of Cassation, the country's highest appeals court, confirmed the ruling, which is final and cannot be appealed.

Egyptian law bars anyone whose parents hold any other nationality from running for the country's top post.

Authorities arrested Abu Ismail days after the ouster of Morsi in July 2013 as part of a sweeping crackdown against the former leader's supporters.

Thousands have since been jailed, including the ex-president himself, who is now entangled in multiple trials that might carry the death penalty.

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