Egypt Lawyer Jailed For 1 Year Over Interview With BBC

Egyptian courts have sentenced a lawyer to a year in prison and ordered him to pay a fine of 980 GBP for giving an interview to the BBC.

Zyad el-Elaimy is a human rights lawyer and former MP and he was sentenced for “spreading false news with an intent to spread panic among the people and disturbing public peace” during an interview with the BBC in 2017.

He was arrested in June last year together with 7 others after officials claimed that they were connected with the outlawed Islamist Muslim Brotherhood group.

However, El-Elaimy is reportedly a member of the secular Hope Coalition and is a member of the Social Democratic Party.

Credit: Newsflash
Zyad el-Elaimy

Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said: “Zyad el-Elaimy has been unlawfully detained since June last year, when he was arrested in relation to his peaceful political activities. He has now been sentenced to a year in prison for daring to give a TV interview to BBC Arabic, in which he spoke about the practices of politically motivated imprisonment, enforced disappearance and torture in Egypt.

“The unfounded charges of which Zyad has been convicted stem solely from the peaceful expression of his opinion and his peaceful political activities, demonstrating the Egyptian authorities’ total intolerance of dissent. It is outrageous that he has been punished with a year’s imprisonment simply for speaking to the media.

“We call on the Egyptian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Zyad and to drop all charges against him. He is a prisoner of conscience, who has been swept up in Egypt’s ruthless purge of critics and opponents.”

El-Elaimy was a key activist in the revolution which toppled President Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

However, since the 2013 military military-led overthrow of elected Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi there has been a growing crackdown on dissidents by former military general, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.

Thousands of pro-democracy activists, journalists and opposition figures have have been jailed following trials that are criticised internationally by human rights groups and NGOs.

El-Elaimy was sentenced to one year in prison and ordered to pay a fine of 20,000 EGP (980.93 GBP).


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Story ByMichael Leidig, Sub EditorJoseph GolderAgencyNewsflash