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Rights Group: 24 Egyptians Facing Jail Terms for 'Insulting' Judiciary

  • VOA News

FILE - Egyptian activists are seen through the mesh of a courtroom cage in Cairo, Egypt, Feb. 23, 2015.

Twenty-four people are facing jail terms in Egypt for "insulting" the judiciary, Amnesty International said Thursday.

North Africa Campaigns Director at Amnesty International Najia Bounaim said, "This trial is an attempt to silence criticism of a judiciary that has itself become a source of human rights violations. 'Insulting’ public institutions or officials is not a criminal offense under international law, and no one should stand trial, let alone face imprisonment, for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression."

The fates of the 24 are to be decided by a court on September 30.

Alaa Abdel Fattah, a blogger and human rights activist who rose to prominence during the 2011 Arab Spring, could face up to four years in prison for a tweet in which he criticized the judiciary. Fattah is currently serving a five-year term for violating a law on protests in 2013.

“Alaa is one of thousands losing years of their lives in Egypt’s prisons while President Abdelfattah al-Sisi is received warmly by governments across the world, with few questions raised about the rights violations committed by his regime,” Alaa Abdel Fattah’s sister, Mona Seif, told Amnesty International.

A campaign on Twitter using the hashtag "#FreeAlaa" has resurged as he faces additional jail time for the new violation.

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