A military court sentenced on Tuesday former head of the Central Auditing Organisation (CAO) Hisham Geneina to five years in prison on charges of spreading false news about the interior situation of Egypt, according to his lawyer Ali Taha. The verdict can be appealed.
The case dates back to February of this year, when police arrested Geneina from his home in New Cairo and referred him to military prosecution over statements he made in an interview with the HuffPost Arabi about former military chief of staff Sami Anan’s possible possession of documents that can incriminate military leaders. Geneina was one of Anan’s two running mates in his campaign for the presidency that ended in March. However, Anan’s family and his lawyer Nasser Amin said that Geneina’s statements are not true, adding that they will take legal proceedings against him.
For its part, the Egyptian Armed Forces said it would seek legal action against Geneina and Anan, saying that Geneina’s statements “harm the armed forces,” amount to “crimes, and aim to raise doubts about the state and its institutions.”
Meanwhile, the military summoned and arrested Anan in January on charges of incitement between the military and the Egyptian people, after he decided to run for the presidential election that ended last month, in which President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi secured a second four-year term.
Anan is accused of running for office without the approval of the armed forces. A military statement said that, at that time, he was considered a reservist, hence could not be engaged in civilian practices such as running in an election.
Geneina was sacked by Al-Sisi in March 2016, in accordance with a presidential decree he issued in July 2015, giving himself the authority to appoint, replace, or dismiss heads of regulatory bodies. An appeal by Geneina claimed that his dismissal was unconstitutional, as he considered the decree contradictory to the Egyptian Constitution, which stipulates that the work of these bodies should be independent from the state’s executive branch.