Egyptian editors sentenced for defaming Mubarak

An Egyptian court sentenced four outspoken newspaper editors to one year in prison with labour on Thursday for defaming President Hosni Mubarak and his politician son Gamal, court sources said.

The court also ordered Ibrahim Issa, Adel Hammouda, Wael el-Ebrashi and Abdel-Halim Qandil to pay fines of 20 000 Egyptian pounds each.

The court allowed them to pay bail of 10 000 pounds each to stay out of jail pending appeal, if they decide to appeal.

The lawsuit against the editors was filed by two members of the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) about a year ago.

On Tuesday state security prosecutors referred Issa, editor of the daily newspaper al-Dustour, to trial in a separate case on the same defamation charge.

International and local human rights groups say criticising Mubarak or his family is still a risky venture in Egypt. They also accuse the government of cracking down on other forms of expression, such as political blogs. - Reuters



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