Egyptian court rejects appeal by former anti-corruption chief

Geneina was detained in February 2018 and sentenced last April to five years in prison for spreading news that harms the armed forces
Former Egyptian anti-graft chief Hisham Geneina
Former head of the Central Auditing Organization (CAO) Hisham Geneina (L) arrives to the State Council courthouse, Cairo, Egypt, 25 October 2016. The court, which was due to issue a verdict in a lawsuit filed by Geneina against his dismissal, adjourned the case to 25 December. Geneina, who held Egypt’s top auditor position for four years and relieved from the position by a presidential decree last March, was sentenced in July to one year in prison over charges of publishing false information. The charges came after Geneina published a report that claims some 600 billion Egyptian pounds (675 million dollars) were wasted due to corruption in 2015. (Photo by Fayed El-Geziry /NurPhoto)

An Egyptian court on Sunday upheld a five-year prison sentence for the country’s former anti-corruption chief, found guilty of insulting the military, legal sources said.

A military court rejected Hisham Geneina’s appeal and confirmed his sentence, a judicial source said, over comments made in an interview with the news website HuffPost Arabi.

Geneina was head of Egypt’s Central Auditing Organisation until he was sacked by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in 2016 for allegedly exaggerating the cost of corruption.

He subsequently became a top aide to former military chief of staff Sami Anan, who planned to challenge Sisi in presidential polls but was arrested.

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Geneina claimed Anan held documents on “political events and crises that Egyptian society has passed through” since the 2011 uprising.

He said the documents could be released if Anan – who remains in jail – was harmed.

Following the interview, Geneina was detained in February 2018 and sentenced last April to five years in prison for “spreading news that harms the armed forces”.

Sunday’s ruling “could be challenged before a higher military court,” Geneina’s lawyer Ali Taha said.

Moataz Wadnan, the journalist who conducted the interview, was also detained but has not yet been put on trial, according to rights lawyer Negad al-Borai.

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Without any serious challenger at the ballot box, Sisi won a second four-year term last March with 97 percent of the vote.

Egypt’s parliament, packed with Sisi supporters, is seeking to institute constitutional amendments that would extend his rule beyond 2022. 

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