Hisham Geneina. Picture: SUPPLIED
Hisham Geneina. Picture: SUPPLIED

Cairo — An Egyptian military court has rejected an appeal made by Egypt’s former anticorruption chief and an opposition figure against a five-year prison sentence for spreading false news harmful to the military, his lawyer said on Sunday.

Shortly before his arrest Hisham Geneina had served on the campaign team of former military chief of staff Sami Anan, who was planning to run as an independent candidate against President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in March 2018 elections. But Anan’s presidential bid was cut short when the military arrested him in January 2018 for allegedly running without permission.

Genena was arrested a month later after he told the HuffPost Arabi website that Anan was in possession of documents that were damning of senior Egyptian officials. That April a military court sentenced him to five years in prison after finding him guilty of spreading false information.

His lawyer, Hussam Lotfy, said the sentence had been upheld and the verdict was subject to further appeal.

Genena’s daughter, Shorouk Genena, said she believes the sentence was upheld “for political reasons, specially during the time while the constitution is being amended, they don’t want anyone to open his mouth or be outside [prison] during the coming period”.

Egypt’s parliament is debating proposed constitutional changes that could allow Sisi to stay in power until 2034 and tighten his control over the judiciary.

Genena was fired as head of Egypt’s corruption watchdog in 2016 after the government accused him of exaggerating the scale of public-sector graft.

Shorouk Genena said an eye injury her father sustained in an attack after Anan’s arrest had not healed and he was not getting proper medical care in prison.

“There was something wrong with his eye, it was very obvious today,” she said. “We have asked them [authorities] to take him to the prison hospital, but all in vain,” she added.

At the time Genena said the assault had been orchestrated by the government, which denied this.