New York, December 20, 2021 – In response to a Cairo court’s sentencing today of journalists Alaa Abdelfattah and Mohamed Oxygen to multi-year prison terms, the Committee to Protect Journalists issued the following statement of condemnation:
“Egypt’s sentencing of journalists Alaa Abdelfattah and Mohamed Oxygen to years in prison is unacceptable, and demonstrates the lengths to which authorities are willing to go to punish these journalists for their work,” said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour. “Both journalists have already spent several years in prison on bogus charges, and authorities must release them immediately and unconditionally.”
The Misdemeanors State Security Emergency Court in Cairo sentenced Abdelfattah to five years in prison, and sentenced Oxygen and Abdelfattah’s lawyer Mohamed al-Baker to four years each, after convicting all three of spreading false news and undermining state security, according to news reports.
Egyptian authorities have held Abdelfattah, a freelance journalist and blogger, and Oxygen, a blogger whose real name is Mohamed Ibrahim, since September 2019, while investigating them under terrorism and false news charges, according to CPJ research. Al-Baker was also arrested in September 2019 while he represented Abdelfattah during a police interrogation, as CPJ documented at the time.
Today’s verdict cannot be appealed, and Abdelfattah and Oxygen’s terrorism charges are still pending, 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 an immediate response.