Egypt jails man for 3 years for wearing ‘anti-torture’ T-shirt

Thousands of Egyptian dissidents have been given long prison sentences since Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi came to power [Getty]

An Egyptian man was sentenced on Wednesday to three years in prison for wearing a T-shirt calling for an end to torture in the country.

Mahmoud Hussein was originally arrested on 25 January 2014, while protesting to mark the third anniversary of the 2011 Egyptian Revolution. He was wearing a T-shirt with the slogan “A Nation without Torture” on it coupled with a scarf with the words “25 January Revolution”.

He was held for two years without trial and was released on bail in 2016, when his detention gained global attention and a campaign for his release began. He was referred to in media at the time as the “T-shirt prisoner”.

Hussein was tortured while in detention, with security forces beating him and applying electric shocks to his hands, back and genitals, according to Amnesty International.

In 2018, an Egyptian court convicted him in absentia for “membership of a terrorist group” and he was sentenced to life in prison.

In August 2023, he was arrested again and held until 26 May this year, before being convicted.

Hussein has already been held for a total of two years and 10 months in prison and his three-year “terrorism” conviction will mean that he will serve another two months before his release.

Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Sara Hashash, condemned Hussein’s sentence.

“Mahmoud Hussein’s conviction is a travesty of justice that illustrates how Egypt’s criminal justice system is being used as a tool to punish dissent and intimidate peaceful activists into silence,” she said in a statement released by the rights group.

“It is ludicrous that he has been given a three-year prison term simply for exercising his right to freedom of expression by wearing an anti-torture T-shirt,” she added.

Hashash also commented on the “grim irony” of Hussein being sentenced on 26 June, which is the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.

She said that the proceedings of the Egyptian Emergency State Security Court were “inherently unfair”, partly because their verdicts can’t be appealed.

Since current Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi took power following a military coup in 2013, tens of thousands of dissidents and political opponents have been detained and sentenced to long terms in prison, many on trumped-up “terrorism” charges.

Source link

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *