Kassem was convicted of slander, defamation and verbally assaulting a police officer in keeping with Egyptian rights group.
An Egyptian courtroom has sentenced political activist Hisham Kassem to 6 months in jail over fees that stemmed from an internet spat with a former minister and opposition determine.
Saturday’s verdict is topic to an attraction earlier than the next courtroom. The case drew condemnation from rights teams and renewed international consideration to Egypt’s poor human rights report.
Hisham Kassem, who’s a number one official with the Free Present, a coalition of largely liberal events, was convicted of slander, defamation and verbally assaulting a police officer, in keeping with Hossam Bahgat, head of the Egyptian Initiative for Private Rights, which represents Kassem earlier than the courtroom.
Bahgat mentioned the courtroom in Cairo additionally fined Kassem 20,000 Egyptian kilos (roughly $647).
Kassem, who for many years ran a sequence of stories retailers that helped preserve alive pockets of unbiased, free press within the nation, was arrested in August after persecutors questioned him on accusations levelled towards him by Kamal Abu Eita, a former labour minister.
Initially, persecutors ordered Kassem’s launch on the situation that he pay bail of 5,000 Egyptian kilos ($161). However Kassem refused to pay and was taken to a police station in Cairo, the place he allegedly verbally assaulted cops.
Kassem and his attorneys rejected the accusations.
London-based Amnesty Worldwide on Thursday known as on Egypt’s authorities to “instantly launch” Kassem, saying he had been “arbitrarily detained”.
“The prosecution of Hisham Kassem for merely posting essential messages on-line is a sign that the Egyptian authorities’ relentless marketing campaign to silence peaceable critics and punish dissent… is constant in full pressure,” mentioned Philip Luther, Amnesty’s analysis and advocacy director within the area.
Egypt has waged a widescale crackdown on dissent over the previous decade, jailing 1000’s of individuals. Most of these imprisoned are supporters of former President Mohammed Morsi. Nonetheless, the crackdown has additionally focused outstanding secular activists.
Egypt’s human rights report got here beneath rising worldwide scrutiny forward of the presidential election set for February. The federal government has been making an attempt to whitewash its picture, however the arrests of Kassem and different activists proved to be a blow to the 18-month effort.
In latest months, Egypt has allowed some criticism of its insurance policies amid a frightening financial disaster and rising requires political reform forward of the 2024 presidential elections.
The federal government launched a discussion board for dialogue with opposition events and rights activists to reinforce its human rights report and supply suggestions to the federal government on methods to tackle its a number of crises.
The federal government additionally pardoned many high-profile detainees over the previous months. Chief amongst them is Patrick Zaki, a number one human rights defender, and Ahmed Douma, one of many Egyptian activists behind the 2011 antigovernment rebellion that was a part of the Arab Spring.
The US just lately accredited most army help to Egypt regardless of persistent concern over human rights, the US Division of State mentioned, stressing Cairo had been useful in a number of hotspots.
New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Friday mentioned the transfer “disregards the Egyptian authorities’s ongoing repressive insurance policies”.
“US officers are making a false alternative between nationwide safety and human rights,” mentioned Nicole Widdersheim, HRW’s deputy Washington director.