Rights lawyer jailed for 10 years, issued 5-year social media ban

Alexandria-based rights lawyer Mohamed Ramadan was sentenced to 10 years in prison on accusations of insulting the president, the misuse of social media and inciting violence.

Alexandria Criminal Court also ordered the defendant to remain under house arrest for five years, and banned him from using social media for the same period.

Lawyer Mahienour al-Massry, who represented Ramadan, told Mada Masr that the court issued its ruling in absentia without hearing his defense team’s request to adjourn the case. Ramadan was not present during the hearing, as he was in hospital. In his absence, the judge rejected the case and issued the ruling, which is not final and is still subject to appeal.

The ruling was issued according to Terrorism Law 94/2015, which enables courts to apply probational measures as well as prison sentences, and can include preventing the use of certain communication methods.

Ramadan was previously detained by authorities in December 2016 while he was working as a lawyer at Montazah police station, and was later referred to trial. He was at the station when an official told him there was a warrant for his arrest based on a complaint filed by national security, Massry told Mada Masr.

The lawyers representing Ramadan at the time said the accusations against him were related to posts he published on his Facebook account. Massry asserted that Ramadan was illegally detained as lawyers enjoy a number of protections upon arrest, including the ability to notify the Lawyers Syndicate board, which he was denied.

Security forces had previously stormed Ramadan’s house in mid-November, arresting both his mother and sister when they did not find him. A number of residents opposed their arrest, pushing security forces to release them. Ramadan told the privately-owned Al-Bedaya newspaper that police offered different justifications for the raid, one of which was that they were seeking his aid in arresting a terrorist cell. Other officers said they intended to arrest him for insulting the police on Facebook.


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