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Egypt brings new charges against political activist: 'I didn't shut up as they were expecting'

Egyptian political asylee Aly Hussin Mahdy, 23 June 2021
Egyptian political asylee Aly Hussin Mahdy, 23 June 2021

A court in Egypt has brought a new case against outspoken Egyptian political asylee Aly Hussin Mahdy, over false news charges.

Aly was sentenced yesterday, in absentia, to four years in prison and issued with a 500 Egyptian pound ($32) fine for using social media in the wrong way and trying to bring the regime down. Court documents claim he used social media to highlight the misuse of public funds to the benefit of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi while Egyptian citizens struggle, among other stories.

Aly's father, uncle and cousin were arrested in Egypt at the beginning of February following a series of videos Aly posted online speaking out about human rights abuses committed by the Egyptian government.

From his home in Chicago, Aly was subject to a defamation campaign run by Egypt's state-run media and subject to death threats.

In April, his family appeared in court after more than two months of forcible disappearance. He discovered through a family member who attended the court hearing that they had been tortured with electric shock.

Aly's father was on crutches and needed support to walk in the courtroom after prison authorities broke his leg during the interrogation and torture.

READ: Dawn calls on Congress to interrogate Egypt intelligence chief over Khashoggi murders

They were not given access to a lawyer and were accused of being members of a terror group.

Dozens of families have been arrested in Egypt as a punitive measure against outspoken activists abroad.

Aly says there is another case being filed against him.

"They don't want me to go back home," he told MEMO. "They're just doing that to keep me away from Egypt."

"If I have a sentence like that I'll never think to go back there because now I know for sure that I'll be disappeared and imprisoned and all that is going to be covered by their 'law'."

"After they kidnapped my family and put them in jail until now, I didn't shut up as they were expecting so they thought that this sentence and this fabricated case will hold me back. But it won't."

This new case comes as human rights advocates have urged the US to raise the issue of severe human rights abuses in Egypt as Abbas Kamel, Egypt's intelligence chief, visits the US this week.

Reports have emerged that the hit squad that killed Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the consulate in Istanbul stopped over in Cairo to buy the deadly narcotics in Egypt.

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