Egyptian court sentences journalist to three years in prison over 'illegal protesting'

Ahram Online , Sunday 3 Jan 2016

Mohamed Abdel Moniem, a journalist for Tahya Misr, was arrested and charged under the provisions of the 2013 protest law

Cairo Criminal Court sentenced an Egyptian journalist to three years in prison over charges of illegally protesting in April 2015.

Mohamed Abdel Moniem, a journalist for the privately owned Tahya Misr newspaper (Arabic for Long Live Egypt), was charged with protesting without a license and breaching security, public order and traffic laws.

However, some local media reported that the newspaper's board chairman said Abdel Moniem was just covering a protest of the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood and was caught by authorities as if he was among Brotherhood protesters.

The court's panel said Abdel Moniem is not officaily a journalist as he is not a registered member of Egypt's Journalists Syndicate.

In November 2013, Egypt's interim president, following the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi, issued a protest law that bans demonstrations without police authorisation and gives security forces the right to bar any public gathering of more than 10 people.

Dozens of people, including several prominent activists, have been charged and convicted under its provisions, heightening fears of a slide back into authoritarianism following the 2011 uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

According to the Journalists Syndicate, 32 journalists, including 14 syndicate members, are currently imprisoned, 20 of whom are jailed in cases related to their work.

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