On Sunday, May 29, 2022, an Egyptian court sentenced former presidential candidate Abdel Moneim Aboul-Fotouh to 15 years in prison on charges of “spreading false news” and “incitement against state institutions.”
Aboul-Foutouh, a former member of the Muslim Brotherhood and leader of opposition Misr al-Qawia (Strong Egypt), was among 25 people who were sentenced on Sunday.
Aboul-Fotouh, 71, was arrested in 2018 after he joined a call to boycott that year’s presidential election, which Abdel Fattah el-Sisi won with a landslide. He was charged with spreading false news with the aim of harming national interests and had been held in pre-trial detention since.
In June 2021, the State Security Prosecution issued a decision to release him, dropping some of the charges he faced since his arrest, but his detention was renewed after the prosecution filed new charges against him pending another case.
While the maximum period of pre-trial detention is two years according to Egyptian law, it is common in Egypt to bring renewed charges against political detainees after the expiry of the two-year period, in what rights groups have described as “recycling of existing cases” to enable indefinite detention.
Aboul-Fotouh has suffered chronic health issues while in detention and has long complained of medical negligence, a practice that has been widely documented in Egyptian prisons by human rights groups.
Since President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi assumed power, the Egyptian authorities have been cracking down on dissidents and critics, arresting and detaining thousands in very poor detention conditions. Many of those detainees have been convicted and sentenced in unfair trials or held without trial for years on baseless terrorism charges.