Egyptian TV host Ahmed Moussa receives fresh jail sentence over slander

Ahram Online , Tuesday 9 Jun 2015

Moussa was also fined LE 10,000 (approximately $1,300) over defamation charges against former presidential hopeful Abdel-Moneim Abul-Fotouh

An Egyptian misdemeanor court on Tuesday sentenced TV host Ahmed Moussa, in absentia, to a year in jail for slander against a former presidential candidate, a judicial source has said.

Moussa, known for his blunt criticism of anti-government figures, was also fined LE 10,000 (approximately $1,300) over defamation charges against Islamist politician and former presidential hopeful Abdel-Moneim Abul-Fotouh.

The case stems from a February episode of Moussa's talk show on the privately-owned Sada El-Balad satellite station in which he claimed Abul Fotouh was serving foreign agendas, describing him as an "agent for the Americans."

The sentence can still be appealed.

The court "has also set bail to temporarily suspend the sentence until an appeal is processed," Egypt's state news agency MENA reported.

Under Egyptian law, sentences issued in absentia are automatically overturned once defendants show up for appeals.

This is not the first time Moussa is convicted with slander.

Last month, an appeals court upheld a two-year sentence and LE 20,000 fine against Moussa over the same charges, but in a separate case involving Free Egyptians Party leader Osama al-Ghazaly Harb.

Moussa is known to be a staunch opponent of the 2011 uprising that ended 30-year rule of autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

He has repeatedly launched verbal attacks on activists associated with the 2011 uprising, but had never yet been summoned to court over such assaults.

Last year, Moussa, who is also a journalist for the Ahram newspaper, was questioned by the country's journalists' syndicate for allegedly breaching the media code of ethics and attacking the 2011 revolt, following several complaints by fellow journalists. 

He also received jail terms in two separate cases for insulting a lawyer for a fan group of Zamalek football club, Ultras White Knights, and the head of Egypt's official auditing authority.

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