Agence France Presse
Egypt Facebook user jailed over army recruit group: lawyer
(AFP) - November 30, 2010
CAIRO — An Egyptian military court has sentenced a man to six months in jail for starting a Facebook group to advise would-be army recruits, his lawyer said on Tuesday.
Ahmed Hassan Bassyouni was giving advice on how to enter the armed services and to prepare the necessary papers, Gamal Eid told AFP.
"They accused him of spreading military secrets over the Internet without permission," Eid said, adding that his client had received a six month sentence and been fined 500 pounds (85 dollars/65 euros).
"This is a message that publishing anything about the armed forces, whether good or bad, won't be allowed," Eid said.
On Friday, Amnesty International urged the authorities to release Bassyouni, 30, saying he was apparently being tried solely for publishing information readily available in the public domain.
The man was arrested last month after being interviewed on Egyptian radio about his Facebook group, called the "Conscription and Mobilisation Department," the same name used by the official body in charge of Egypt's military service.
After the interview, he was called back to the studio where military investigators were waiting for him.
Bassyouni had reportedly made it clear that his was not an official government website.
"The Egyptian authorities must end the practice of trying civilians before military courts. This is an abuse of the Egyptian judicial system and the right to a fair trial," Amnesty said.