Journalist covering Egypt's Sinai gets 10-year jail sentence

Journalist covering Egypt's Sinai gets 10-year jail sentence
An Egyptian military court has jailed a freelance journalist for spreading false news and joining an outlawed group.5
2 min read
Ismail Alexandrani worked for several news outlets in Egypt [Twitter]

An Egyptian military court on Tuesday sentenced a freelance journalist who covered the Sinai insurgency and Islamists to 10 years in prison on terror-related charges.

The North Cairo Criminal Military Court convicted Ismail Alexandrani of spreading false news and joining an outlawed group, without identifying it. It also sentenced a second defendant, Waleed Muharib, to 10 years on the same charges plus obtaining funds illegaly from abroad.

The verdicts can be appealed. 

Alexandrani was detained in 2015 upon his return to Egypt from Berlin after delivering a presentation on Sinai militancy. He worked for several news outlets in Egypt.

His lawyer Tarek Abdel Aal said the prosecution did not present any evidence against Alexandrani related to the charge of belonging to a banned organisation. Nor did it specify what state secrets he was charged for publicising, Aal added, according to Mada Masr.

In December 2017, the Supreme State Security prosecution referred his case to the Cairo military court. 

Egypt has heavily restricted media access to the northern Sinai, where it has struggled to combat an Islamic State-led insurgency that has carried out attacks across the country. 

A new report by Human Rights Watch published Tuesday said that Egypt has demolished more than 3,000 homes and commercial properties since 14 January. Most experts say the campaign has not checked the insurgency.

Egyptian authorities have jailed several journalists as part of a general crackdown on dissent, passing laws that criminalise the dissemination of "false news". 

Tens of thousands of Egyptians have been arrested since the military ouster of the Islamist Mohammed Morsi in July 2013. Most of those detained are Muslim Brotherhood members, but secularists and activists of various stripes have also been jailed. 

Agencies contributed to this report.

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