Mohamed El-Baqer sentenced to 4 years in prison
Today, on 20 December 2021 Egypt’s Emergency State Security Misdemeanour Court issued its verdict in Case No. 1228/2021 of Mohamed El-Baqer. Lawyers for Lawyers was informed that Mohamed El-Baqer has been sentenced to 4 years in prison for “spreading false news using a social networking site”.
Mr. El-Baqer was arrested on 29 September 2019 at the Supreme State Security Prosecution (SSSP) premises in Cairo while attending an interrogation of activist and blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah, for whom he served as legal counsel. Mr. El-Baqer was thus transformed from a defense lawyer in Case No. 1356/2019 into a defendant in the same case. He has since been detained pending investigations into charges of “joining a terrorist group,” “disseminating false news that undermines national security,” “using social media to commit publishing offenses,” and “funding a terrorist group.”
A Terrorism Circuit judge in the Cairo Criminal Court ordered the release of both Mr. El-Baqer and Abdel Fattah on 19 February 2020, but the decision was reversed following an appeal from the SSSP.
While in detention, the SSSP added Mr. El-Baqer to a new case, No. 855/2020, and accused him of similar charges, a practice commonly referred to as “rotation”. Then, in November 2020, Mr. El-Baqer’s name was added to the terrorist list for five years. Consequently, he is banned from traveling abroad and from assuming any official position or civil work for five years. In addition, a judicial order will freeze his bank accounts and assets. On 18 October 2021, a new case file was opened, No. 1228/202, that replicated the charges held in case no. 1356 of 2019. On 8 November 2021, Mr. El-Baqer was presented before the New Cairo Emergency State Security Misdemeanour Court for Case No. 1228/2021.
The decision issued by the court today is the verdict in Case No. 1228/2021. Mohamed El-Baqer has been sentenced by Egypt’s Emergency State Security Misdemeanour Court to 4 years in prison for “spreading false news using a social networking site”.
Lawyers for Lawyers fears that Mr. El-Baqer’s charges are connected to and serve to curb his legitimate activities as an attorney. Lawyers for Lawyers has campaigned previously for his release and will continue to do so.
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