Monday , June 17 2024

Prominent Egyptian Activist and Government Critic Jailed for Six Months

Hisham Kassem, a well-known publisher and activist who had recently stepped up his criticism of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s regime, was given a six-month prison sentence by a Cairo court on Saturday, according to his attorney.

Al-Tayar al-Hurr, popularly referred to as Free Current, a recently established liberal organisation, is led by Kassem. The movement indicated it could run a candidate in the upcoming presidential elections, which are scheduled for early 2024. It has called for political change to confront an economic crisis.

With ongoing support from the security services, Sisi, a former army chief, is not anticipated to face any significant challenges.

According to Kassem’s attorney, Nasser Amin, the defendant was found guilty of libel and slander against a former cabinet member as well as verbally abusing police officers at a station after being arrested. The judgement’s economic court also assessed him a 20,000 Egyptian pound ($645) fine. According to Amin, an appeal hearing was scheduled for October 7.

After the Activist harshly criticised Sisi and how he has run Egypt since 2014 in social media posts, Kassem was arrested last month. In jail, Kassem, a former publisher of the weekly Al-Masry Al-Youm, had begun and interrupted a hunger strike.

Political opponents from all sides of the political spectrum have been caught up in Sisi’s extensive crackdown on political dissent.

Since late 2021, the government has made a number of actions that it claims are geared at addressing rights issues, including announcing a human rights plan and lifting a state of emergency. However, many have criticised these actions as purely symbolic.

Some well-known detainees have received pardons or have been released, but activists claim that new arrests have outweighed releases, thousands of political prisoners are still behind bars, and free expression restrictions are still harsh.

This week, the United States approved the majority of its annual foreign military aid to Egypt, citing the importance of the nation to its national security.

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