from AHMED MOOLA in Cairo, Egypt
CAIRO – MEDIA rights groups are outraged at the ten-year prison sentence a military court has imposed on an Egyptian journalist.
Freelancer Ismail Alexandrani has been prosecuted under cumbersome charges of being a member of a banned organisation and spreading false news.
Alexandrani, whose work focuses on the Sinai Peninsula and Islamist movements in Egypt, has been in custody since his arrest in November 2015.
He was referred to military prosecution at the end of 2017.
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) condemned the sentencing by the military court in the capital city Cairo.
Robert Mahoney, CPJ Deputy Executive Director, said hauling a journalist before such a court violated their rights as a civilian and sent a chilling message to the media that Egypt’s rulers would not tolerate independent coverage of political dissent and security threats.
“Ismail Alexandrani has already spent more than two years behind bars and should be released immediately,” Mahoney said.
According to research by CPJ, Egypt is the world’s third largest jailer of journalists, with at least 20 behind bars.
This includes Alexandrani.
The administration of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is hostile towards independent media.
He was elected for a second term at the end of March after a campaign marred by arrests of journalists and suspension of broadcasters.
– CAJ News