Egyptian editor verdict condemned

Untitled-1.jpgPress freedom activists have condemned Egypt for jailing a newspaper editor who printed rumours about the health of its 80-year-old president.

The Committee to Project Journalists expressed dismay at how the judiciary was used to “settle scores” with those critical of President Hosni Mubarak.

The editor, Ibrahim Issa, received a two-month jail sentence on Sunday.

The court said reports in his newspaper, al-Dustour, were likely to disturb public security.

“We are dismayed by the Egyptian government’s determination to jail our colleague and to keep using the judiciary to settle scores with journalists who criticise President Mubarak,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon.

Mr Issa was convicted in March and given a six-month sentence by a lower court for publishing stories saying Mr Mubarak’s health was deteriorating.

On Sunday, the appeals court upheld the verdict but reduced the sentence by four months.

State Security prosecutors had been seeking a heavier sentence, considering the initial penalty to be too lenient.

They said the false health rumours had prompted investors to take $350m (£172m) out of the Egyptian economy in less than a week.

Mr Mubarak has held office uninterrupted since 1981. Correspondents say he has no obvious successor and any speculation about his health is a very sensitive topic in Egypt.

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