Cairo: An Egyptian military court on Thursday sentenced a journalist to one year in prison on charges of disclosing military secrets and defaming the army, activists said.
The tribunal handed the one-year prison term to Islam Al Humasy, a reporter for the pro-Muslim Brotherhood website Rasd, for posting online in November leaked videos of the then defence minister Abdul Fattah Al Sissi, said Jamal Eid, a rights advocate.
The court, meanwhile, acquitted Amr Al Qazaz, a reporter and a co-founder of the website, according to Eid.
The tribunal also sentenced an army soldier identified as Mohammad Abdul Moneim in the same case, which has triggered local and foreign outcry. Military trials are usually held behind closed doors in Egypt.
The ruling is the first by a military court against civilians in Egypt since January when the country approved a new constitution, which allows the prosecution of civilians before military courts in cases that “constitute direct attacks” on the army personnel and installations.
Last month, Amnesty International demanded Egyptian authorities to “immediately and unconditionally” release both defendants and drop all charges against them.
“The two journalists are prisoners of conscience detained solely for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression by performing their jobs,” said Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa programme director at the London-based watchdog.
Al Sissi is the architect of the military’s July overthrow of president Mohammad Mursi of the Brotherhood.
Earlier this month, Al Sissi resigned from his military post so he could run for presidency in elections due in late May. He is widely expected to win the vote.