The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has strongly condemned a 10 year prison sentence handed out to researcher and investigative journalist Ismail Alexandrani in Egypt.
The North Cairo Military Criminal Court sentenced Alexandrani on May 22 for having allegedly published military secrets and joined the Muslim brotherhood.
The IFJ expressed serious concerns over the sentence and the repeated targeting of journalists in Egypt, preventing them from freely exercising their job and their right to free speech.
Alexandrani was first arrested in November 2015 at Hurghada Airport, Egypt after participating in a conference in Berlin, Germany during which he was giving courses on the Egyptian situation, according to his wife Khadija Gaafar.
After having spent more than two years in pre-trial detention, the journalist, who specialized on issues related to Islamist groups and Sinai, was arrested by the Criminal Court and sentenced to 10 years in prison, according to his lawyer Tarek Abdel Aal.
Among others, Alexandrani wrote for Le Monde Diplomatique, Jadaliyya, Safir Arabi and Orient XXI. Known for his critical writings, the journalist was accused of publishing military secrets, being part of the Muslim Brotherhood - a banned organisation in Egypt since 2013 - and spreading information likely to harm the country’s national safety.
“Egypt has an obligation to respect the right of journalist to work freely,” said IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger. “The IFJ calls on the Egyptian authorities to free Ismail and all our colleagues currently in jail for their work.”