• April 1, 2023

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An emergency court in Egypt has sentenced a 2012 presidential candidate, Abdel Moneim Aboul Foutouh, to 15 years in prison for “false information” and “undermining state security”.

In the sentence announced on Sunday, there are 24 other Islamist opponents, a judicial source said.

Among them, Mahmoud Ezzat, former supreme guide of the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood, already sentenced to life imprisonment for “espionage”, and the N.2 of Mr Aboul Foutouh’s “Masr Qawiya” party, Mohammed al-Qassas.

Mr Aboul Foutouh was arrested on his return from London, where he had granted interviews criticizing the government and calling for a boycott of the presidential election that returned Abdel Fattah al-Sissi.

In 2012, however, he was a candidate in the election won by the Muslim Brother Mohamed Morsi — overthrown by Mr Sissi, then head of the army, a year later.

Mr Aboul Foutouh, placed on the “terrorist” list and whose assets have been sequestered for four years, was charged with membership of an “illegal organization” before an anti-terrorism court.

His lawyer Khaled Ali, a leading figure on the left and also a former presidential candidate, had decided to use the weapons of power of Mr Sissi to defend him.

In April, he submitted four episodes of a successful military soap opera featuring videos of Mr Aboul Foutouh filmed without his knowledge by the intelligence services and criticizing the Muslim Brotherhood to the judges as exculpatory evidence.

Amnesty International – which recently said Egypt held the world record for death sentences with more than 350 in 2021 – denounced the verdict, calling it a “totally unfair political trial”, saying the convicts had been subjected to “torture and ill-treatment” in detention, and calling on Mr Sissi to release them.

Mr Aboul Foutouh, “aged 70, has been deprived of medical care for years,” the human rights NGO added.

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