First Published: 2013-06-03

 

Ahmed Duma: First anti-Morsi activist to get jail term in Egypt

 

Cairo court sentences Egyptian opposition youth activist to six months in prison for insulting Islamist President Mohamed Morsi.

 

Middle East Online

Jail term and fine for ‘political criticism’

CAIRO - An Egyptian opposition youth activist was on Monday sentenced by a Cairo court to six months in prison for insulting President Mohamed Morsi.

Ahmed Duma, who was tried for calling Morsi "a criminal and murderer" during a television broadcast, was also ordered to pay a fine of 200 Egyptian pounds (22 euros).

The activist blogger can be released on bail of 5,000 pounds (550 euros) pending a decision by an appeals court.

Duma is the first anti-Morsi activist to be sentenced to a jail term, according to human rights groups.

Dozens of Duma supporters gathered outside the courthouse during the hearing, chanting slogans against the president and the powerful Muslim Brotherhood from which he came, a journalist said.

His trial took place after a complaint by a member of the president's Freedom and Justice Party, who said that he felt personally insulted by what Duma had said about Morsi.

The official MENA news agency said Duma was accused of spreading "false information and rumours in a television programme" and for describing Morsi as a "criminal and murderer who escaped justice".

Duma said his remarks were "political criticism" and were not intended to insult the president, MENA reported.

Morsi, elected in June last year, has been accused of suppressing or seeking to suppress opponents and journalists who criticise him by accusing them of defamation.

In April, Morsi ordered the withdrawal of the complaints filed in court by his office against journalists accused of publishing "rumours" about him.

Human rights lawyer Gamal Eid says there were four times more complaints about insults to the president" during the first 200 days of Morsi's presidency than under the Hosni Mubarak's entire 30-year rule.

Most such complaints do not come directly from the parties involved but from "citizens", and the presidency denies being behind any of them, citing the independence of the judiciary.

In September a Christian teacher was sentenced to six years in jail for insulting the Muslim Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) and Morsi on Facebook.

Famous television satirist Bassem Youssef has also been targeted for allegedly insulting Islam and the head of state, and was questioned for several hours in March before being released.

Youssef's weekly satire programme Al-Bernameg (The Show) has spared few public figures of merciless critique.

 

Angry protesters storm Iraq Green Zone

War continues in Aleppo, with US-Russia agreement

Rouhani allies win second round of Iran parliament elections

Yemen government forces seize Qaeda training camp

Aleppo mourns paediatrician killed in air strike

UN council votes to bring back full Western Sahara mission

Air strike hits clinic in rebel-held Aleppo

US, Russia 'agree freeze' on two Syrian fronts

Libya unity government vows to end jihadist 'scourge'

Turkey demands 5 years jail for UK academic over 'terror propaganda'

UK pair accused of giving money to Brussels, Paris attacks suspect

Turkey says Bursa bomber linked to PKK

UN rights chief calls Syrian crisis 'shameful realpolitik'

Kuwait steps up deportations of expat workers

South Sudan unveils unity government

Iranians vote in second round of parliamentary elections

Palestinians support, Israel opposes French peace initiative

Biden in surprise Iraq visit to support embattled government

MSF condemns strike on Aleppo hospital

Lifeline to millions in Syria 'may be broken' as violence intensifies

Turkish journalists get two years for publishing Charlie Hebdo cartoon

Greece making 'incredible effort' to tackle migration issue

Iraq shuts Al-Jazeera bureau for 'instigating violence and sectarianism'

Syria regime readies for major Aleppo offensive

Israel nuclear reactor defects spark secrecy dilemma

Suicide bomber targets Aden police chief

Death toll in Syria's Aleppo rises despite UN truce plea

Italy to introduce migrant fingerprinting at sea

UN envoy plans to hold another round of Syria peace talks

US proposes full restoration of Western Sahara mission

27 Yemeni soldiers dead in key offensive

Global press freedom drops to lowest level in 12 years

Constitutional amendment grants Jordan king more powers

Suicide bomber blows herself up in Turkey northwestern city

Austria adopts one of EU's toughest asylum laws

Netherlands warns no safety 'guarantees' for visitors to Turkey

Battered Aleppo residents ask: Where is Syria ceasefire?

Libya kidnappers release Serbian worker

Sinai bombing kills three Egypt policemen

UAE considers tough safety code after skyscraper fires

UNESCO says Palmyra retains 'authenticity' despite damage

Khamenei says US 'fomenting Iranophobia'

Russia applauds cooperation with US on Syria

Etihad Airways sees $103 million profit in 2015

Russia asks UN to list Syria rebel group as 'terrorist'