Egypt activist sentenced over social media post critical of government

Posted at 10:26 PM, Sep 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-30 00:26:06-04

(CNN) — Egyptian activist Amal Fathy was sentenced Saturday to two years in prison for “publishing false news” and “slandering employees” at a state bank in a social media video that was critical of the government, according to the country’s state-run Al-Ahram newspaper.

Fathy’s sentence was handed down after a trial. She was also fined 10,000 Egyptian pounds (around $562), Al-Ahram reported.

Fathy, an activist focusing on democratization in Egypt, was arrested earlier this year along with her husband Mohamed Lotfy, who is director of the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms. The couple and their 3-year-old child were taken to a police station after an overnight raid on their home in the Cairo suburb of Maadi in May, Amnesty International said.

Lotfy and the child were soon released, but Fathy remained in custody. Egyptian authorities had said they detained Fathy for damaging the government’s reputation.

Fathy was arrested shortly after she posted the video on her Facebook page in which she spoke about “the prevalence of sexual harassment in Egypt, criticizing the government’s failure to protect women,” Amnesty said then. She singled out employees of the state-owned Banque Misr after what she described as a personal experience there. She also criticized the government for “deteriorating human rights, socioeconomic conditions and public services,” Amnesty said.

Fathy has another pending case in which she was charged with “publishing false news” and “inciting against the country,” Al-Ahram reported.

Fathy was in custody since her arrest in May. It was not immediately clear Saturday whether she remained incarcerated.