Egyptian court convicts outspoken tabloid editor of libeling a journalist

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CAIRO: An Egyptian editor known for inflammatory comment has been sentenced to six months imprisonment for libeling a journalist, a court official said Thursday.

A Cairo court rejected the appeal of Mustafa Bakri, editor-in-chief of the weekly tabloid Al-Osboa, and upheld the lower court s prison sentence but set aside its fine of LE 5,000 the official said.

I am shocked, Bakri said in a phone interview Thursday, a day after the court s verdict was delivered.

They can take me to prison any time. Bakri said he would appeal again.

The court official, who spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to give press statements, said the verdict was handed down but the judge will deliver his reasons later.

Bakri is an independent legislator, but his immunity was lifted at his own request to allow the lawsuit to proceed.

A little-known journalist, Talaat Hashim, sued Bakri over an article published in Al-Osboa two years ago in which he accused Hashim of supporting two corrupt men, a former Cabinet minister and a former newspaper editor. The article also accused Hashim of financial wrongdoing.

Bakri has a reputation for denigrating those he regards as opponents of Egypt.

When the leading human rights activist Saad Eddin Ibrahim was on trial for tarnishing Egypt s image, Bakri wrote in Al-Osboa that the sociology professor should be hanged in a public square. Ibrahim, who has US and Egyptian citizenships, was acquitted on appeal.

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