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The New Arab

Egypt former anti-corruption chief who backed Sisi rival to stand military trial over 'fake news'

Geneina was sentenced to a year in prison for "exaggerating" corruption levels [Getty]

Date of publication: 12 April, 2018

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An Egyptian military court has referred a former anti-corruption chief to a military trial on charges of "spreading fake news", after he said he had documents incriminating Egypt's top politicians.

An Egyptian military court has referred a former anti-corruption chief to a military trial on charges of "spreading fake news", after he said he had documents incriminating Egypt's top politicians.

Egypt's military prosecutor on Thursday referred Hisham Geneina - a chief aide to detained presidential hopeful Sami Anan - to stand trial in a military court, local daily al-Shorouk  reported.

Geneina has been charged with "spreading false news to harm national security and disseminating fear among people."

Geneina was jailed in February after saying in an interview with the now-rebranded Huffington Post's Arabic website that Anan had documents that could prove damning to state officials.

He was attacked by unidentified men outside his home weeks before his arrest.

Geneina's lawyers have expressed concern about his physical and psychological condition and demanded that he be moved to a "specialised" hospital while in detention.

In 2016, the former anti-graft chief was sentenced to a year in prison for "exaggerating" the level of corruption in the country.

Anan was detained in January shortly after announcing his intentions to run in last month's presidential elections, with the military accusing him of illegally campaigning while still a registered reserve officer.

The former military chief of staff was the most credible rival to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who won the election after all serious contenders were sidelined or withdrew.

Sisi has led a wide crackdown on dissent since taking office.

Sisi was elected president a year after leading the 2013 military overthrow of former Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, amid mass protests against him.

A year later, a Sisi was elected as president, with the initial crackdown on Morsi's supporters expanded to include liberal and leftist secular activists.

Human Rights Watch called on Sisi to end human rights abuses in a report published on Tuesday.

"Sisi's disdain for his citizens' most basic rights marked his re-election campaign," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch.

"In his final term in office, as mandated by the constitution, Sisi should change course and leave a positive legacy instead of being remembered as an autocrat who oversaw a human rights crisis."

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