Egypt sentences Spain-based businessman to life in prison over 2019 protests
An Egyptian military court has sentenced a Spain-based businessman to life in prison for his part in triggering anti-government protests in Egypt in 2019.
The Egyptian court also sentenced 37 other people to life in prison over the 2019 protest. The court tried 23 of those people in absentia, including the self-exiled Spain-based businessman.
Reportedly, Mohammed Ali, the businessman and 37 other people were charged with inciting violence against security forces and state institutions during anti-government protests in 2019 in Suez, a seaport city in north-eastern Egypt.
According to state media, the Egyptian court also sentenced 44 other people, including minors, to terms ranging from 5 to 15 years in prison on the same charges over the anti-government protest in 2019. According to defence lawyer Ossama Badawi, 21 other people were acquitted.
Ali, a Spanish construction contractor and fledgling actor, burst into Egypt’s politics when he posted videos on social media, accusing Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi of corruption. His videos led to street protests in several cities in Egypt in September 2019 over allegations of corruption. His videos went viral on social media and racked up millions of views. Ali has been placed on Egypt’s “terrorist” blacklist over videos posted on social media. It froze his assets and banned him from leaving the country.
During protests, Egyptian authorities arrested about 4,000 people, including academics, activists and lawyers. According to rights groups, Egypt has over 65,000 political prisoners.
In 2013, Egypt passed a law that effectively banned all protests and rallies across the country. People could face jail time or heavy fines for public demonstrations in the country. The law also banned public gatherings of more than 10 people without government approval. The law also imposed a seven-year imprisonment for the use of violence in any protests or rallies. Unauthorised protests cannot take place under the presidency of el-Sissi.