Egypt upholds prison sentence against Ahmed Tantawi's presidential campaign manager

Egypt upholds prison sentence against Ahmed Tantawi's presidential campaign manager
A Cairo court upheld a one-year verdict against Ahmed Tantawi's presidential campaign manager, lawyer Mohamed Aboul Diyar, over "electoral fraud."
2 min read
Egypt - Cairo
04 June, 2024
Lawyer Mohamed Aboul Diyar led the campaign of preconditional hopeful Ahmed Tantawi before he withdrew from the race. [Facebook]

A Cairo appeals court upheld on Monday a one-year prison sentence against the campaign manager of Egyptian former presidential hopeful Ahmed Tantawi, lawyer Mohamed Aboul Diyar, over "electoral fraud," during a trial described by rights advocates as allegedly being "unfair."

During Monday’s trial session, Aboul Diyar's defence team was reportedly denied the right to review the case file, including investigations conducted by a senior state security officer, according to a statement by the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights.

"Neither did the court approve to hear the witnesses' testimonies" the statement said, following the verdict. 

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The verdict came one week after a similar one against Tantawi (also spelt Tantawy) himself had been upheld by the same court, convicted, along with 21 campaign members, with "printing and disseminating unauthorised endorsement forms" for his candidacy in a trial slammed by rights groups as "unfair."

Despite what seemed to be overwhelming popularity, former MP and journalist Tantawi withdrew from the presidential race earlier last year for failing to garner the legally required endorsements by citizens to be allowed to join the presidential race whose results had been already perceived by observers as "a foregone conclusion."

The Egyptian constitution stipulates that presidential candidates must secure endorsements from 20 MPs or 25,000 registered voters in at least 15 provinces, with a minimum of 1,000 endorsements from each province, which Tantawi failed to garner.

Previous presidential elections from 2014 onwards gave improbable majorities to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi amid the detention and persecution of his potential rivals.

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Around 45 per cent of registered voters in the country had cast their ballots in end of last year in the vote swept by Sisi.

In April this year, Sisi was sworn in April this year to serve for a third and, theoretically, final four-year term, as per the Egyptian constitution amended in 2019.

Initially expected to be held in 2024, last year's election coincided with severe socio-economic instability and a continued crackdown on human rights and freedom of expression.