A Giza court sentenced journalist and press syndicate member Mohamed Ali Hassan in absentia to five years of prison and fined him LE500 for "broadcasting false news and inciting protests."
Security forces arrested Hassan from his house in December 2014 and accused him of "broadcasting false news, joining the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization established in violation of the law, inciting against the army and the police, inciting protests and receiving foreign funding."
Investigations by Egypt's National Security Agency showed that the journalist is running a page on Facebook by the name of "Egypt Now". The investigation showed the page deliberately publishes news critical of the state.
The security agency's report said Hassan received foreign funding from individuals and different bodies in Qatar, but the public prosecution ordered the security body to identify the individuals and entities.
Accordingly, the public prosecution dismissed the accusation that Hassan was receiving foreign funding and referred him to court for broadcasting false news and inciting against the state.
The press syndicate presented to the prosecution documents proving that transfers to Hassan's bank accounts involved money sent by his brothers in Libya and Saudi Arabia.
Egypt ranked 158 out of 180 countries in the 2015 Press Freedom Index issued by Reporters Without Borders.
Meanwhile, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said in December that Egypt ranked second only to China in 2015 in terms of the number of journalists jailed.