[JURIST] A court in Egypt [JURIST news archive] Wednesday sentenced the former editor of weekly newspaper al-Dustour [media website, in Arabic] to six months in prison after convicting him on charges of spreading "rumors" about the health of Egyptian President Hosny Mubarak [official profile] in an August newspaper report. Ibrahim Eissa [al-Ahram profile] originally faced a maximum sentence of three years in jail when his trial began [JURIST report] in Cairo in October 2007. Eissa told AFP the sentence was "against all international human rights conventions." It was not immediately clear whether Eissa would appeal. AFP has more.
In June 2006, Eissa was sentenced [JURIST report] to one year in prison for publishing a report critical of Mubarak, but an appeals court reduced the sentence to a $4,000 fine. Under Egyptian law, citizens may file lawsuits against individuals who make statements that harm society, and the accused can face criminal punishment if found guilty. Mubarak has previously pledged to decriminalize press offenses [JURIST report] in Egypt, but has yet to do so.