Egypt jails three influential opposition figures on 'terrorism' charges after voicing support for protests

Egypt jails three influential opposition figures on 'terrorism' charges after voicing support for protests
Politician Khaled Daoud and professors Hazem Hosni and Hassan Nafaa have been sentenced to 15 days imprisonment after voicing their support for anti-corruption protests.
2 min read
26 September, 2019
(L-R) Hazem Hosny, Khaled Daoud and Hassan Nafaa have been imprisoned in Egypt [Getty/Twitter]
Egypt's Supreme State Security Prosecution court sentenced three prominent politicians to 15 days in prison on "terrorism" charges on Wednesday for their alleged role in the "Palacegate" protests against President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi that spread across Egypt on Friday and Saturday.

The state prosecution charged journalist and former leader of the al-Dustour Party Khaled Daoud, former advisor to presidential candidate Sami Annan and Cairo University political science professor Hazem Hosni, and fellow politics scholar Hassan Nafaa with "participating in a terrorist group", "spreading false news" and using social media to spread rumours.

Hosni was further charged with "using his personal online profile to publish rumours which endanger public safety, spread terror among the population, and harm public interest".

The sentencing follows that of prominent human rights lawyer Mahienour El-Massry and eight others who received the same 15-day punishment.

Hundreds participated in anti-government protests on Friday and Saturday following a corruption scandal dubbed "Palacegate" in which former army contractor Mohamed Ali released a slew of viral videos accusing the president and the military regime of squandering billions on lavish palaces and army residences.

Egyptian security arrested Hosny on Tuesday night at his home in Giza.

Hosny formerly acted as an advisor to Sami Annan, a former general who was detained by Egypt's military in 2018 just days after announcing his intention to run against Sisi in that year's presidential elections.

The family of fellow political scientist Hassan Nafaa said on Wednesday they feared his arrest after losing contact with the outspoken academic hours before Hosny's detention.

Both professors have spoken out in support of the protests on social media in recent days.

The defense committee for Hosny on Wednesday urged the professor's release, citing his poor health.

Hosny is among several prominent opposition figures detained in recent days as Sisi's regime moves to crackdown on dissent amid calls for a "million-man" protest on Friday.

At least 16 members of the opposition Independence Party were arrested on Tuesday.

The party had earlier issued a public call for Egyptians to participate in the protests, which erupted on Friday last week in the capital Cairo and other cities.

Security forces have also detained the deputy heads of both the Communist and Dignity parties.

Some 1,900 people have been detained so far since the protests began, according to the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights.

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