Egypt: 2 opposition media professionals “Matar” and Shorbagy” sentenced to 15 years

The Zagazig Criminal Court sentenced Moataz Matar and Hossam El-Shorbagy, presenters of Al-Sharq and Mekameleen channels respectively, to 15 years in prison each, on charges of court contempt, and others.

Egypt’s Zagazig Criminal Court in Sharqiya yesterday sentenced TV presenters Moataz Matar and Hossam Al Shorbagy to 15 years in prison each in absentia for contempt of court, inciting violence, seeking to overthrow the ruling regime with violence, in addition to joining a banned group, the Muslim Brotherhood.

Matar, a presenter on Al Sharq TV, and Al Shorbagy, who works at Mekameleen, were referred to trial in November 2019 after they accused a judge of misusing his judicial authority and position.

Local media reported that in 2015, Matar was sentenced to ten years imprisonment and was fined 700 Egyptian pounds ($44.57) for “incitement to overthrow the regime and spreading false news”.

El Sharq TV tweeted saying, “Zagazig Criminal Court gives media professionals Moataz Matar and Hossam El Shorbagy a 15-year hard prison sentence “in absentia” for insulting a court president.”

However, Matar and El-Shorbagy have so far ignored the ruling of the Zagazig Criminal Court.

Matar has been absent from the screen for months, against the background of some measures taken after Egyptian-Turkish rapprochement, along with other media professionals that had used to criticize Sisi and his regime.

Egypt regularly accuses those who criticize the government with membership of the Brotherhood and attempts to push terrorism-related charges against them.

Even those who have condemned the group have been held for their alleged links to it.