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Egypt releases gov’t critic Hisham Kassem

February 21, 2024 at 8:48 am

Prominent publisher and political activist, Hisham Kassem [@S_Elhussieny/X]

Egyptian authorities yesterday released political activist Hisham Kassem after he served a six-month prison sentence on charges of slander, defamation and verbally assaulting a former minister and a police officer.

Sixty-four-year-old Kassem had been detained in August last year and sentenced him a month later claiming he was “insulting and defaming” Kamal Abu Eita, a former labour minister, and insulting the police officer who came to arrest him.

Due to his imprisonment, he could not run in the Egyptian presidential elections, won by incumbent President, Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.

Earlier this month, a misdemeanour court in Cairo sentenced former presidential candidate Ahmed Tantawi to one year in prison on charges of “printing and disseminating unauthorised endorsement forms”.

Egypt is heavily criticised over its targeting of opponents and human rights activists, since the army overthrew the country’s only democratically elected President, Mohamed Morsi, in 2013, and of implementing a broad campaign of repression.

Tens of thousands of political prisoners are said to be languishing in jail in inhumane conditions, many have been tortured, rights  groups say.

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