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Egypt Activist Sentenced to 3 Years for Government Criticism


FILE - A defendant is seen gesturing from a cage in a courtroom in Torah prison, southern Cairo, Egypt, Aug. 22, 2015. Activist Islam Marei was reportedly sentenced Tuesday to three years in prison for criticizing the government.

Egyptian lawyers say a prominent activist and opposition figure has been sentenced to three years over his criticism of the government's decision to transfer control over two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia.

Defense lawyers Zyad el-Elaimy and Ahmed Fawzy said in Facebook posts on Wednesday that Islam Marei had been held in pre-trial detention since his June arrest. Charges against him included “funding terrorism” and inciting violence.

They say the sentence was passed on Tuesday. It wasn't immediately clear if Marei, who is a member of the small opposition Social Democratic Party, will appeal his three-year sentence.

The 2016 Egyptian-Saudi accord to hand the Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia has drawn wide public criticism and triggered rare protests in Egypt.

President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi ratified the accord in June.

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