CAIRO ( Associated Press) — An Egyptian court on Monday sentenced a pro-democracy activist to four years in prison for spreading false news, a defense attorney said.
Cairo’s misdemeanor court convicted Yahia Hussein Abdel-Hadi, co-founder of the Civil Democratic Movement, an opposition coalition of liberal and left-leaning parties, for “deliberately disseminating false news inside and outside” Egypt, according to the lawyer Khalid Ali.
Similar accusations have often been leveled against critics of the government of President Abdel Fatta el-Sisi. Many activists have been jailed for years, often without trial, on these kinds of allegations.
Monday’s verdict can be appealed to a higher court.
Abdel-Hadi was arrested in January 2019 ahead of a vote on controversial constitutional amendments that extended el-Sisi’s second term from four to six years and allowed him to run for another six-year term. He also gave greater powers to the armed forces. The changes mean the president can stay in office until 2030.
El-Sisi was elected in 2014 and re-elected in 2018 after all of his potential rivals were jailed or pressured to drop out.
In recent years, the government has cracked down on dissidents, jailing thousands of people, mostly Islamist but also secular activists involved in the 2011 Arab Spring uprising that removed autocrat Hosni Mubarak from power, who remained at the helm. front of government for almost 30 years.