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.

 

New US law could sanction Hezbollah officials

ISIS-rebel clashes grip northeast Syria town

Hundreds of civilians flee Fallujah area in Iraq

Khamenei urges Iran lawmakers to resist Western 'schemes'

Turkey Muslims demand right to pray at Hagia Sophia

Iran delegation leaves Saudi Arabia without Hajj deal

Thousands of protesters gather in central Bagdad

99 lashes for partying Iranian students

100,000 Syrians trapped after shock IS advance in Aleppo

Iran sticking to nuclear deal: UN watchdog

Turkey party seeks constitutional change to boost president's powers

Turkey accuses US of 'hypocrisy' on Kurdish militia in Syria

Israel environment minister resigns from 'extremist government'

US-led coalition pounds IS near Raqa

Tunisia mulls allowing women to serve in army

US-backed fighters battle IS near Syria stronghold

Tunisia tourism sees 'slight recovery'

UN envoy calls for economic rescue plan for Yemen

Bahrain jails 19 for attacks on police

Up to 30 dead in shipwreck off Libya

UN says Syrians will 'starve' unless aid improves

Christian homes set ablaze in Egyptian village 'love story'

Kuwait's main opposition group ends polls boycott

Twin offensives on IS edge forward in Syria, Iraq

Private firms to help in hunt for Egyptair black boxes

New Israeli defence minister's tough talk to be put to the test

Syria most dangerous place for health workers

Concern for civilians trapped in Iraq's Fallujah

Brent rises past $50 a barrel

Iraq PM urges protesters to stay home

Juncker warns Ankara against migrant deal threats

Israeli air force carries out strikes on Hamas sites in Gaza

Annual Jewish pilgrimage starts in Tunisia

Sudan accuses UN official of 'false' reports on displaced

Egypt quashes prison sentences for 47 protesters

At least 5 drown off Libya coast

Coalition airstrike kills six Yemen civilians 'by mistake'

Erdogan chairs first meeting of new Turkey cabinet

Pope prays to 'convert hearts' of ISIS extremists

Egypt expels French journalist amid crackdown on media

Israeli rights group gives up on army complaints system

Hamas-led council backs executions without Abbas approval

Netanyahu forms ultra-nationalist Israel government

Major assaults target IS jihadists in Iraq, Syria

Yemen warring parties 'closer' to agreement