Three human rights activists sentenced to prison in Egypt
Three human rights figures in Egypt have each been sentenced to several years in prison for “spreading false news undermining national security.”
On Monday, Alaa Abd El Fattah, who is an activist, received a five year sentence, and Mohamed el-Baqer, who is a lawyer, and Mohamed Ibrahim, who is a blogger, each received four years, according to The New York Times.
The decision from Egypt’s State Security Emergency Misdemeanor court, which cannot be appealed, has been called politically motivated by some rights groups, the Times added.
In recent years, Sisi has made efforts to better the country’s human rights policies, largely because of the negative impact poor human rights conditions could have on Egypt’s economy as well as its diplomacy, the Times added.
But critics say there has not been substantial change, as activists remain in prison or have seen recent court rulings against them. Some well known activist figures have, however, recently been released from prison, the newspaper reported.
“The so-called reforms, like the human rights strategy, are merely for international consumption,” Hussein Baoumi, Amnesty International’s Egypt and Libya researcher, said, per the Times.
Specifically, the administration said it would withhold $130 million in aid until Egypt met certain human rights criteria. Meanwhile, Egypt was still set to receive $170 million to be used for issues like counterterrorism, border security and nonproliferation.