Reuters

Egyptian journalist gets year in jail for libel

CAIRO, March 10 (Reuters) - An Egyptian court sentenced a journalist to one year in jail on Monday for libelling imprisoned opposition leader Ayman Nour and his wife.

But Nour, who is serving a five-year sentence on what he says are baseless fraud charges, asked the court to drop the custodial sentence because he does not approve of jailing journalists for publishing offences.

The journalist, Taher Mahmoud Taher, made allegations against Nour and his wife Gameela Ismail in April 2005, when Nour challenged President Hosni Mubarak in the country's first presidential elections with more than one candidate.

Taher, who was working for a little known Cairo newspaper called the Voice of Boulak Aboul Ela, also received a fine of 10,000 Egyptian pounds ($1,800).

In a separate case, another Cairo court declared a nephew of former President Anwar Sadat not to be bankrupt -- the status which led to his expulsion from parliament last May.

The opposition politician, Mohamed Anwar Esmat Sadat, produced evidence at the time that he had settled his debts but the speaker of parliament said he needed a court ruling.

Sadat, who in the past has spoken out against alleged corruption in the government, said at the time his expulsion was politically motivated and that other parliamentarians had been granted reprieves in similar circumstances.

Sadat was elected to parliament in 2005 as an independent and in 2007 joined the liberal Democratic Front party.

It was not immediately clear whether the court ruling would enable him to regain his seat in parliament. (Reporting by Mohamed Abdellah; Writing by Jonathan Wright; Editing by Alastair Sharp)


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