Military forces in North Sinai, Egypt, in December 2017. A military court has sentenced freelancer Ismail Alexandrani, who reported on unrest in the region, to 10 years in prison. (Reuters/Mohamed Abd El Ghany)

Military court in Egypt sentences journalist to 10 years in jail

May 22, 2018 4:07 PM ET

New York, May 22, 2018--The Committee to Protect Journalists strongly condemned the sentencing today of Egyptian freelancer Ismail Alexandrani. A military court in Cairo found Alexandrani guilty of being a member of a banned organization and spreading false news, and sentenced the journalist to 10 years in prison, according to news reports.

"Hauling a journalist before a military court not only violates his rights as a civilian but sends a chilling message to the media that independent coverage of political dissent and security threats will not be tolerated by Egypt's rulers," said CPJ Deputy Executive Director Robert Mahoney. "Ismail Alexandrani has already spent more than two years behind bars and should be released immediately."

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 in December 2017, according to CPJ research. Egypt is the world's third largest jailer of journalists, with at least 20 behind bars, including Alexandrani, at the time of CPJ's most recent prison census.

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