Egyptian human rights lawyer Zyad el-Elaimy sentenced to prison for BBC interview
On 10 March 2020 the Mokattam Misdemeanour Court in Egypt sentenced Zyad el-Elaimy, a human rights lawyer, former MP and one of the leaders of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, to one year in prison for “spreading false news with an intent to spread panic among the people and disturbing public peace” during a TV interview with the BBC in 2017. This was reported by Amnesty International.
Mr. el-Elaimy has been sentenced to a year in prison for daring to give a TV interview to BBC Arabic, in which he spoke about the practices of politically motivated imprisonment, enforced disappearance and torture in Egypt. He also received a fine of 20,000 Egyptian pounds (around US$1,270).
Mr. el-Elaimy has appealed against the sentence and the date of 7 April 2020 has been set for the appeal hearing. He remains in pre-trial detention pending investigations in another case, known as the “Hope case”, where he is accused, along with other politicians, of unfounded “terrorism”-related offences in retaliation for their attempt to found an electoral alliance for the 2020 parliamentary elections.
The Cairo Insitute of Human Rights reports that Mr. el-Elaimy has health issues but is denied healthcare during his detainment, while being held in poor and unsanitary conditions at Tora Prison in Cairo. The prison administration refuses to hand over a detailed statement of Mr. El-Elaimy’s current health status to his family, despite local and international campaigns and demands.
The targetting of Mr. el-Elaimy is part of a wider crackdown against human rights defenders and civil society organized by the Egyptian government. Lawyers for Lawyers reported earlier about the arrests of lawyers Mahienour El-Massry, Mohamed El-Baqer and Gamel Eid.
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