Democracy ALERT: Hisham Kassem, Prominent Egyptian Publisher and Democracy Advocate Sentenced to Six Months in Jail
On September 16, 2023, an Egyptian court sentenced Hisham Kassem, a prominent publisher and democracy advocate, to six months in prison over charges that stemmed from an online spat with the former Minister of Manpower, Kamal Abu Eita, and grew to include allegations of verbal assault against police officers. According to Mr. Kassem’s lawyer Nasser Amin, the court fined Mr. Kassem 20,00 Egyptian pounds. Mr. Amin has filed for appeal before a higher court.”
As the World Movement, previously reported the Egyptian authorities arrested Mr. Kassem in August after being summoned to testify in a defamation case filed against him by the former Minister of Manpower, accusing Mr. Kassem of insult and slander. After refusing to pay bail of 5,000 Egyptian pounds, Mr. Kassem was referred to al-Sayeda Zeinab police station to be taken into custody at which time officers accused him of verbal assault and issued formal charges as part of the case against him.
Mr. Kassem currently serves as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Free Movement in Egypt. Previously, Mr. Kassem served as the publisher of Al-Masry Al-Youm (known in English as “Egypt Independent”), an independent newspaper in Egypt, and was also a member of the World Movement for Democracy’s Steering Committee.
This court decision has a significant implication for independent voices that are critical of the government. The World Movement for Democracy stands in solidarity with Hisham Kassem and calls for his immediate release.