The International Press Institute (IPI), the global network of editors, journalists and media executives, today vehemently condemned a jail sentence given to Egyptian freelance journalist and researcher Ismail Alexandrani by a military court.
Alexandrani was found guilty of belonging to a banned group and spreading false news and sentenced to 10 years in prison. Arrested in November 2015, he spent nearly two-and-a-half years in pre-trial detention.
“The sentencing of a journalist by a military court following an unfair trial demonstrates the extent to which the Egyptian government fears free media and critical voices”, IPI Deputy Director Scott Griffen said. “The treatment of Ismail Alexandrani and other jailed journalists in Egypt makes a mockery of the democratic values that Egypt claims to respect. We urge the international community not to stay silent in the face of clear and repeated violations in Egypt of journalists’ right to free expression and a fair trial.”
Earlier this month, IPI Executive Director Barbara Trionfi had urged the League of Arab States to use its good offices to secure the release of all journalists detained in Egypt, including Alexandrani.
Alexandrani’s main work, which has been published in various regional and international media such as Al Araby and on platforms such as The Wilson Center, focuses on Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. His research has explored the social and political issues in that region and provided professional analysis on the situation there. Most importantly, he has focused on the security situation in the Sinai, which has become a hotbed of insurgency and attacks on unarmed civilians, like the attack in November 2017 on a mosque in Al-Rawda village in Northern Sinai that left more than 300 people dead.
In addition, Alexandrani has written on Islamism and political Islam. He has not only investigated armed militias in Sinai, but also discussed larger political groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood. Although Alexandrani has publicly opposed the Brotherhood, publishing several articles criticizing its actions and ideology, the Egyptian authorities have falsely accused him of supporting the group. Currently, the Muslim Brotherhood is designated as a terrorist organization and banned in Egypt. Those accused of having links to the group face severe penalties. Thousands of Brotherhood supporters and sympathizers are currently behind bars