CAIRO (AP) — An Egyptian court on Sunday sentenced two elderly Islamist leaders to 15 years in prison for spreading fake news and inciting against state institutions.
The Supreme National Security Court, along with former presidential candidate and leader of the Islamic Strong Egypt party Abdul-Monam Abu Fetuh and acting Muslim Brotherhood leader Mahmoud Ezzat, sentenced seven other defendants 15 years in prison. TOLL.
A Cairo court also sentenced Mohamed el-Kassas, the vice chairman of the powerful Egypt party, and another activist, Moaz el-Sharqawi, to 10 years in prison on similar charges, including joining the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, which Egypt designated a terrorist organization in 2013.
A court dealing with terrorism-related cases sentenced another 14 to life in prison.
Abul Fetouh, 70, a former senior leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, was fired from the group when he decided to run in Egypt’s presidential election in 2011. He and el-Kassas were detained in February 2018 after harsh criticism of the government of President Abdel Fattah El-Sissi.
Pro-government media in Egypt insist that Abul Fetouh’s real sympathy remains the Brotherhood.
Ezzat, a 77-year-old mysterious Muslim Brotherhood figure, was detained in August 2020. He has been at large since the military ousted Egypt’s first democratically elected president, Mohammed Morsi, the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. Morsi’s brief rule proved divisive and sparked mass protests across the country.
Ezzat was convicted of several terror-related offences and sentenced to death in absentia twice in two separate cases. He was sentenced to life in prison in April last year after a case was retried.
Abul Fetouh, Ezzat and el-Kassas were added to the country’s terror list.
Human rights groups have repeatedly criticized Egypt’s massive sentencing and called on authorities to ensure a fair trial.
The groups, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, say the arrests and trials of the likes of Abul Fetouh and el-Kassas are part of the government’s crackdown on dissent, not only targeting Islamic political opponents but also democracy activists, journalists and online commentators .