Egyptian Military Officer Gets Six Years in Prison for Announcing Presidential Bid

AFP/Getty Images
AFP/Getty Images

TEL AVIV — An Egyptian military court has handed down a sentence of six years in prison to an army officer for announcing in a video uploaded to social media that he intended to run for president in elections scheduled for next year, according to reports and the individual’s attorney.

The court ruled that the officer, Ahmed Konsowa, posted the video during his military service while wearing his army uniform despite an Egyptian law stipulating that military personnel cannot make political declarations.

According to Kansowa’s attorney, Asaad Heykal, his client was found guilty of “behavior that violates the rules of the military order.”

It should be noted that Kansowa stated in his video that he had tried to quit the military in 2014 in order to pursue involvement in political life, but, he claimed, his resignation was rejected by his superiors.

His attorney said he intends to appeal the severity of the punishment.

Kansowa posted the video on November 29 and it quickly went viral on social media in Egypt. He used the platform to sharply criticize the policies of the Egyptian government in the areas of education, healthcare and the economy under the rule of President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, all without directly using the president’s name.

The officer was arrested on December 2, just three days after posting the video.

Kansowa is not the only person paying a price for announcing his intention to run for president against el-Sissi. Former Egyptian prime minister Ahmad Shafiq, the last to hold the office in the Mubarak era, was extradited to Egypt from the United Arab Emirates after saying earlier this month from the Emirates that he will run for president in Egypt. He also criticized the Egyptian political situation in general.

The Emirates is considered Egypt’s strongest ally and the richest of the Gulf states giving financial aid to Egypt. The two countries share great animosity toward the Muslim Brotherhood movement.

Upon landing in Egypt, Shafiq said he means to reconsider his decision to run for president.

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