TV anchor Ahmed Moussa sentenced to 6 months in prison for airing private phone calls

A misdemeanour court sentenced controversial TV anchor Ahmed Moussa to six months in prison and a LE40,000 fine for airing private phone calls, lawyer Hamdouh Gamil told Mada Masr.

Gamil represents engineer and politician Mamdouh Hamza, whose private phone calls with former military chief Sami Anan were aired by Moussa during his show on the private Sada al-Balad website, “On my Responsibility.”

Moussa was convicted of invading his client’s private life, according to the lawyer.

Hamza declined to comment on the ruling to Mada Masr, but said that he expects the sentence to be overturned during appeal, going by other cases against Moussa in the past.

Moussa was sentenced in 2015 to two years in prison and a LE20,000 fine for libel, in a case filed by liberal politician Osama al-Ghazaly Harb after Moussa accused him of conspiring against Egypt and receiving illegal foreign funding, but the sentence was revoked.

A staunch supporter of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and critic of the January 25 revolution, Moussa has been involved in a series of libel cases and accused of leaking the private phone calls of politicians and January 25 revolution activists, including Mostafa al-Naggar and Abdel Rahman Youssef. He also aired private phone calls between Anan and former Vice President Mohamed ElBaradei. A complaint was filed by a number of lawyers against the airing of these conversations.

The Journalists Syndicate also took punitive measures against Moussa after he published intimate photos that he claimed belong to parliamentarian Khaled Youssef. A number of journalists filed a petition with the syndicate against Moussa’s slanderous practices.

The pro-Sisi TV anchor is known for his inflammatory statements. He accused the UK Ambassador to Egypt John Casson of previously working for the UK intelligence services. In another incident he called on security forces to openly crackdown on the eastern Cairo neighborhood of Matareya, where a protest camp was set up by Muslim Brotherhood supporters.

“The law is live ammunition,” Moussa asserted after fierce clashes between protesters and police in Matareya. “Demolish Matareya,” Moussa urged the police. “How can we allow terrorism to kill people? Where is the state of law? Enough with these policies. The rules of the game should change, the discourse … I don’t want to see these soft policies,” he screamed.