Egyptian TV presenter given ten-year jail sentence

DetailsRebecca Hawkes | 13 July 2015

An Egyptian court has sentenced a TV presenter to ten years in prison after being found guilty of inciting the overthrow of the government and use of violence against state institutions.

The ruling against Moataz Matar, an Egyptian working with the Turkish-based Al Sharaq opposition TV station, was issued in absentia.

Matar is an outspoken critic of Egypt's President Abdul Fattah Al Sissi and his government. He left Egypt in 2013 following the overthrow of former President Mohammad Mursi and his Muslim Brotherhood regime.

TV station Al Sharaq said the ruling is "evidence of violation of freedom of opinion and expression" in Egypt, in a statement on Facebook.
The Egyptian Government has repeatedly said that the country's judiciary operates without political interference. However, non-government organisation Reporters Without Borders is one of many critics who say Egypt is facing a continuing crackdown on freedom of information.

In April, controversial life sentences were passed by an Egyptian court on three journalists Abdullah Alfakharany, a reporter and co-founder of the Rassd news website, Samhi Mostafa, the website's CEO, and Mohamed Al-Adly, a presenter with Amgad TV.

Meanwhile, the retrial of Al Jazeera journalists Baher Mohamed, Mohamed Fahmy and Peter Greste – who were are originally sentenced by Egyptian court to between seven and ten years in prison – is expected to conclude with a verdict on 30 July.

"The Egyptian authorities must stop persecuting journalists whose only crime is doing their duty to cover the news," Reporters Without Borders deputy programme director Virginie Dangles said at the time.

"The authorities are using security and the fight against terrorism as grounds for targeting journalists who do not toe the official line. This arbitrary trial has just aggravated an already worrying situation for news and information providers, both professional and non-professional."