Egypt: Alaa Abd El-Fattah sentenced to five years in prison for “spreading false information”

Even before the trial took place, Laila Soueif knew her son, Alaa Abd El-Fattah, had been convicted. “His crime, like millions of young people in Egypt and beyond, is to believe that another world was possible. And to have tried to make it happen ”, the Egyptian math teacher and human rights activist wrote in a Tribune published in the New York Times, December 17, published in French on the site ofOrient XXI.

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On Monday, December 20, the 40-year-old computer programmer and left-wing activist, who became an icon of the 2011 revolution, was sentenced by the State Security Court to five years in prison for “Dissemination of false information”, or a tweet denouncing the death of a detainee under torture. His former lawyer, Mohamed Al-Baqer, was sentenced on the same charges to four years in prison, as was blogger Mohamed “Oxygen” Ibrahim, accused of having relayed videos of anti-government demonstrations.

“Their conviction is a travesty of justice and reminds us that a terrible repression is still going on in Egypt against any dissident, despite the lifting of the state of emergency by the authorities”, denounces Katia Roux, advocacy officer at Amnesty International. Since coming to power, following the dismissal by the army of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in the summer of 2013, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has been accused by NGOs of carrying out an all-out repression against his opponents and human rights defenders. According to them, Egypt has more than 60,000 prisoners of conscience.

Seven years in prison since 2013

Since the imposition of a state of emergency in April 2017, 143 cases involving political dissidents and human rights defenders have been tried before the State Security Court, according to a count compiled by Amnesty International in September. Its lifting at the end of October did not put an end to the procedures initiated: at least twenty since August, estimates the organization. “These are unfair procedures, which flout the rules of fairness and deprive them of the right to appeal. The only way out is that President Abdel Fattah Al-Sissi annuls these verdicts ”, continues Katia Roux.

“My repeated detention is a chapter in the history of our family struggle”, wrote Alaa Abd El-Fattah, in August 2014, from Tora prison, in the suburbs of Cairo, a week before the death of his father, Ahmed Seif Al-Islam, a communist activist who was detained several times during the reigns Anouar El-Sadate and Hosni Mubarak, before becoming a human rights lawyer. In his turn imprisoned under Mubarak, Alaa Abd El-Fattah took up the family torch, as did his two younger sisters, Mona and Sanaa, and he played a central role in the 2011 uprising that brought about the fall of the autocrat. .

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Egypt: Alaa Abd El-Fattah sentenced to five years in prison for “spreading false information”