Cairo — A Giza court sentenced journalist and press syndicate member Mohamed Ali Hassan in absentia to 5 years of prison and fined him EGP 500 for “broadcasting false news and inciting protest.”
Security forces arrested Hassan from his house in December 2014 and accused him of “broadcasting false news, joining the Muslim Brotherhood, an organisation established in violation of the law, inciting against the army and the police, inciting protests and receiving foreign funding.
Investigations by the Egyptian Homeland Security revealed that the journalist is running a page on Facebook by the name of “Egypt Now”. The investigation showed the page deliberately publishes news against the state.
The Homeland Security report said Hassan received foreign funding from individuals and different bodies in Qatar but the public prosecution ordered the security body to identify the individuals and entities.
Accordingly, the public prosecution dismissed the accusation that Hassan is receiving foreign funding and referred him to court for broadcasting false news and inciting against the state.
The press syndicate presented to the prosecution documents proving that the bank transfers that Hassan received are sent to him by his brothers in Libya and Saudi Arabia.
Egypt ranked 158 out of 180 countries in the 2015 Press Freedom Index issued by Reporters Without Borders.
Meanwhile, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said in December that Egypt is second only to China as the world’s worst jailer of journalists in 2015.