The Egyptian Prime Minister, Mostafa Madbouly, ratified the ruling issued by the Emergency State Security Misdemeanor Court, on November 17, against a number of political activists.
Former activist and parliamentarian Ziad El-Elaimi was sentenced to five years, journalists Hisham Fouad and Hossam Mo’nes to four years, activists Hossam Nasser and Mohamed Bahnasy to three years, and union activist Fatima Ramadan to three years in absentia, with a fine of 500 Egyptian pounds for all activists. The activists’ lawyer, Khaled Ali, said that the ruling was ratified without allowing him to see its legal reasons or to file a complaint at the State Security Affairs Office. The reasoning of the ruling was based solely on the investigations of the State Security Investigations, according to Ali. After the approval of the Prime Minister, the ruling becomes final and irrevocable in any way.
Tariq Khader, head of the criminal justice unit at the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, said that this case was copied from the case known as the “Coalition of Hope.” This means that the defendants who are in the same main case will continue to be tried in parallel with any cases that may be copied from it later, he added. Amnesty International has called on President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi to rescind the sentences and immediately release all those detained solely for exercising their right to freedom of expression. In a statement, the organization stressed that the authorities must put an end to summary trials before emergency courts.
Eight Egyptian human rights organizations also denounced what they described as the shameful ruling that emphasizes the fictitious end of the state of emergency, and the announcement of an incomplete human rights strategy in which the regime claimed the independence of the judiciary and respect for human rights.
Al-Alimi was accused of insinuating to public opinion the failure of the New Suez Canal project and the state’s persecution of the Nuba people. The prosecution said that the articles he wrote five years ago would have weakened the state, harmed the country’s national interests, affected its economic status, disturbed public peace, and sowed terror among the people. Mo’nis was accused of spreading false news on social media, claiming that there are violations of detainees’ rights and that employees of the Ministry of Interior are violating the law, according to the prosecution. Fouad was accused of insinuating to international public opinion the illegality of state institutions, which would also have weakened the prestige of the state and its financial status, harmed national interests, disturbed public security, according to the prosecution.
A day before the ruling was issued, journalist Ikram Youssef, Al-Alimi’s mother, said that these accusations were a condition for the case to become a part of the Emergency State Security Court, which is an exceptional court.