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.


Russia prepares retaliation against Turkey

Tunisia to rethink anti-IS strategy

Cameron pushes for Britain to join Syria air strikes

Erdogan denies buying oil from IS

Somali pirates seize Iran fishing boat with 15 crew

Lavrov says no war with Turkey after 'planned provocation'

Tunisia under state of emergency

Missing Iranian diplomat found dead in Saudi

Heavy Russia raids at site of Syria plane crash

Tunisia declares state of emergency after terrorist attack in heart of capital

Bahrain calls HRW torture report 'misleading'

Syria, Russia foreign ministers set Moscow talks

Rival Libya tribes sign peace deal to end months of fighting

Turkey reveals new cabinet of Erdogan allies

Turkey downs Russia Su-24 fighter jet on Syria border

Hopes fade away as Sudan peace talks break without deal

At least 6 dead in Libya bomb attack

ISIS suicide bombers kill four in assault on Sinai hotel

Kerry visits Israel with scant hopes for major breakthrough

Hollande heads to Washington to seek support for war on ISIS

Brussels extends terror alert as US issues worldwide travel warning

UAE blames Islamists for delay in military operation in Taez

Egypt kills 5 Sudanese migrants near border with Israel

Anti-Muslim hate crimes rise 300 percent in Britain

Russia eases restrictions on nuclear cooperation with Iran

Gulf leaders to hold annual summit on December 10

Ex-Gathafi Minister arrested over murder of UK policewoman

UK boosts military spending as pressure grows to join anti-ISIS strikes

Israel bars Palestinians from West Bank settlement bloc

Iraq suspends northern flights due to danger posed by Russia missiles

Syria army advances against ISIS in central province of Homs

Pro-Kurdish leader escapes assassination attempt in Turkey

Tunisia group claims beheading of young shepherd on behalf of ISIS

Kerry arrives in Abu Dhabi for Syria discussions

Three Palestinians killed as fresh violence hits West Bank

Iran arrests ISIS-linked cell near Iraq border

Brussels remains on high alert for second day in a row

Israel seeks to strip citizenship of those who join ISIS

France warns Libya as ISIS gains ground

Fear escalates as ISIS edges closer to Syria Christian town

Iran sentences reporter Jason Rezaian to prison

Egyptians vote in second phase of parliamentary elections

Assad grateful to Russia as army advances on ‘nearly every front’

Obama calls for resolve in face of terrorist threats

Russia bombs ISIS in heaviest strikes since beginning of Syria war