CAIRO: Egypt’s former anti-corruption chief has been referred to a military court for trial on charges of spreading false news harmful to the military establishment, his lawyer said Thursday.
Hisham Genena ran alongside former military chief-of-staff Sami Anan as a member of his short-lived presidential campaign before the latter was detained in January and accused by the army of running for office without permission, bringing his bid to a halt.
Genena was arrested and put under investigation by the military prosecutor in February over comments he had allegedly made in an interview with the HuffPost Arabi news website.
In the interview, Genena said Anan possessed documents that were damning of senior Egyptian officials. He gave no details.
Anan’s lawyer criticized Genena and wrote on his Facebook page that statements Genena made were “completely untrue.” He did not say which statements he referred to.
The former auditor was beaten up outside his home shortly after Anan’s arrest and has accused the government of being behind his assault. His alleged assailants said his injuries were the result of a fight after a car accident. Genena’s lawyer, Ali Taha, gave no further details about the charges he faced. He is due in court on April 16. Family members say he is depressed and in poor physical condition.
President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi was re-elected in April with 97 percent of the vote.
Egypt’s state security prosecutor has summoned the former editor of a local newspaper and eight of its reporters for questioning over their coverage of the presidential election, the general secretary of the journalists syndicate said on Thursday.
The summons follows a complaint by the National Election Commission against journalists at the daily Al-Masry Al-Youm for publishing what it called false news about the election, syndicate Secretary-General Hatem Zakaria said
The journalists are due to appear in front of the prosecutor on April 19.
The National Election Commission was not immediately available for comment, but it had warned it would act against those who published false information about the election, won by El-Sisi.
The election featured only one other candidate — an ardent El-Sisi supporter — after serious opposition contenders pulled out in January.
Al-Masry Al-Youm published a story on March 29 which detailed attempts by state officials to encourage voters to head to the polls in several provinces on the final day of voting.
The paper was fined 150,000 Egyptian pounds ($8,500) by the Supreme Media Council, a media regulator.
“The story ... was aimed at insulting the presidential elections and questioning their integrity,” state news agency MENA reported at the time, citing the election commission’s complaint.
The election commission said the vote was held according to the “highest international standards of integrity and transparency.”