Journalist Ahmed Abu Deraa (C)
Egyptian journalist Ahmed Abu Deraa was handed a six month suspended jail sentence and acquitted of other charges.
An Egyptian military court Saturday handed a journalist a six month suspended jail term for reporting without authorisation in a military zone of the Sinai, his lawyer and an army source said.
Ahmed Abu Deraa was acquitted of two other charges, of spreading “lies” through his reports on the army’s campaign against Islamist militants in the Sinai Peninsula and of taking pictures of waterways in the Suez Canal, said one of his lawyers, Mohammed Hanafi.
“My client has been given a six-month suspended jail term but he is acquitted of the two other charges,” Hanafi said.
The military court in the Suez Canal city of Ismailiya also fined Abu Deraa 200 Egyptian pounds (around $29).
Abu Deraa, who writes for the independent daily Al-Masry Al-Youm, was detained on September 4 in north Sinai over reports that army raids had hit a mosque and houses, as well as injuring civilians.
Authorities say they are targeting “terrorists” in the lawless Sinai Peninsula which borders the Gaza Strip, run by the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas.
Earlier this month, Doha Centre for Media Freedom wrote an open letter to the Egyptian authorities denouncing Ab Deraa’s arrest and calling for his release.
Military spokesman Ahmed Ali last month explained Abu Deraa’s detention and military trial.
“Investigations showed that Mr Abu Deraa spread lies, saying that the Egyptian armed forces were attacking mosques, women and children. He deliberately spread false news,” Ali told reporters.
“He also entered military zones.”
Such charges came under the jurisdiction of the military.
Civil society groups have slammed the increasing number of military trials of civilians since the army ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi on July 3.
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