Egypt jails press union chief for spreading false news

Cairo, Nov 19 (IANS) An Egyptian court on Saturday sentenced the head of the journalists’ union and two board members to two years in prison each on charges of spreading false news and harbouring two people wanted by authorities, the media reported.

The three journalists were also fined 10,000 Egyptian pounds ($629) each, Xinhua news agency reported.

According to the court, Yahya Qalash and the other two journalists harboured wanted journalist Amr Badr and blogger Mahmoud al-Saaqa inside the syndicate in May in violation of the law and the union’s rules.

Following the arrest of Badr and al-Saaqa, Qalash demanded that the interior minister step down and the presidency apologise over an alleged police raid to arrest them on charges of inciting protests.

The authorities denied the allegation that police forcibly entered the building, saying they had an arrest warrant and coordinated in advance with the union board members.