New York, November 17, 2021 – In response to a Cairo court’s sentencing of journalists Hisham Fouad and Hossam Moanis to four years in prison today, the Committee to Protect Journalists issued the following statement of condemnation:
“Today’s sentencing of Egyptian journalists Hisham Fouad and Hossam Moanis to four years each in prison is unacceptable, and authorities should release them immediately and unconditionally,” said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour. “Egyptian authorities are making it clear that they will do whatever it takes to make sure these two journalists never leave their custody, even after more than two years in pretrial detention.”
The Misdemeanors State Security Emergency Court in Cairo sentenced Fouad and Moanis to four years each in prison and fined them 500 Egyptian pounds (US$30) for allegedly spreading false news in Egypt and abroad, according to news reports. Egyptian police arrested Fouad, a freelance journalist and columnist, and Moanis, a reporter for the local privately owned newspaper Al-Karama, on June 25, 2019, from their homes in Cairo, as CPJ documented at the time.
The verdict cannot be appealed, according to news reports. President Abdelfattah al-Sisi lifted Egypt’s state of emergency, imposed after a bombing in April 2017, on October 25, thereby stopping the use of emergency courts; however, that change did not apply to cases referred to such courts before that date, according to those reports.
Journalists Alaa Abdelfattah and Mohamed Oxygen, who are also facing prosecution in emergency courts, are scheduled to receive their verdicts on December 20, according to a local journalist and press freedom advocate who spoke with CPJ on the condition of anonymity, citing fear of reprisal.
CPJ emailed the Egyptian Ministry of Interior for comment but did not receive any reply.