Egypt: Hisham Genina’s sentence a serious setback for freedom of expression under al-Sisi

Responding to the sentencing of Hisham Genina, former head of the Central Auditing Organisation in Egypt, to five years in prison on charges of “publishing false information for harming national security”, Amnesty International’s North Africa Campaigns Director, Najia Bounaim said:
“The arrest, military trial and outrageous five-year sentence for Hisham Genina is another example of the shameless silencing of anyone who is critical of the Egyptian authorities. We call for the immediate and unconditional release of Hisham Genina. His continued imprisonment for his criticism of the recent election process is a reprehensible violation of his right to freedom of expression.
“It is now becoming clear that the Egyptian authorities’ recent crackdown on freedom of expression shows no sign of abating. The persecution of those who dare to speak up in Egypt is quickly becoming a hallmark of al-Sisi’s new term in office.”
Hisham Genina was the former head of the Central Auditing Organisation in Egypt and responsible for oversight over public spending, including conducting reports on irregularities in the spending of public money.
Egyptian security forces arrested Genina on 13 February, following an interview with Huffington Post Arabic in which he criticized the election process and the interference of the Egyptian authorities in the then upcoming presidential election. He was charged with “publishing false information for harming national security” by the Office of Military Prosecution which ordered his detention.
On 12 April, he was referred to military trial based on what he said in his interview with Huffington Post Arabic.
Military trials of civilians in Egypt are inherently unfair as all officials in military courts, including judges and prosecutors, are serving members of the military. As such, they do not always have the necessary training on the rule of law or fair trial standards. Military courts have been used by the Egyptian authorities as a tool to round up members of the opposition on trumped up charges.
MEDIA CONTACT: Jacob Kuehn, Media Relations, Amnesty International Canada / 613-744-7667 x 236