Egyptian activist found guilty after critical tweet

Egyptian human rights activist found guilty after critical tweet
2 min read
29 November, 2021
Hossam Bahgat was found guilty of insulting a judicial election commission following a tweet he posted last year in which he blamed the election authority's chairman for allegedly mishandling the parliamentary vote.
Bahgat was ordered to stand trial on charges he insulted Egypt's election authority, spread false news alleging electoral fraud, and used social media to commit crimes [source: Getty]

A court Monday found a leading Egyptian human rights activist guilty of insulting a judicial election commission in a tweet he posted last year following a national vote.

The misdemeanor court in the capital of Cairo fined Hossam Bahgat, director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal rights, 10,000 Egyptian pounds (around $640), his group said.

In July, Bahgat was ordered to stand trial on charges he insulted Egypt's election authority, spread false news alleging electoral fraud, and used social media to commit crimes.

His indictment was based on a 2020 tweet in which he blamed the election authority's chairman for allegedly mishandling the parliamentary vote held that year.

The US State Department condemned Bahgat’s trial and detention at the time.

The Egyptian government has in recent years waged a wide-scale crackdown on dissent, jailing thousands of people, mainly Islamists, but also secular activists involved in the 2011 Arab Spring uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak.

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Since 2016, Bahgat has been banned from traveling abroad and has had his personal assets frozen in connection with a separate, decade-long criminal investigation. In that probe, he and many other activists have been accused of receiving foreign funding.

Last week, leading international rights group Amnesty International urged Egyptian authorities to halt their “relentless persecution” of Bahgat.

“These endless legal proceedings look like a clear reprisal against Bahgat’s storied legacy of defending human rights," the group said in a statement.