Former parliamentarian and vice-chairman of Al-Wasat party Essam Sultan was sentenced in absentia to one month in prison for insulting former presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq.
Shafiq, who fled to the United Arab Emirates after losing the presidential elections in June 2012, had filed a lawsuit against Sultan.
Sultan was fined EGP 10,000 and handed an EGP 50 bail by Al-Matareya Misdemeanour Court, state-owned Al-Ahram reported.
In a statement released on his Facebook page, Sultan said that the court failed to notify him of the date of the trial.
“This verdict is legally incorrect,” Sultan said in his statement. He added that the Egyptian Penal Code punishes insults and libel with an EGP 10,000 fine; the law makes no reference to imprisonment as a possible punishment.
Shafiq’s lawyer, Hesham Murad, said Sultan had repeatedly offended Shafiq on his Facebook page, quoting “if you are man enough, come back to Egypt”, and “when you were Prime Minister, millions of dollars were smuggled abroad to Ahmed Ezz, Gamal and Alaa Mubarak, and Suzan Thabet.”
Sultan denied the existence of any evidence incriminating him. He vowed to immediately appeal the verdict.
Shafiq was former president Hosni Mubarak’s Prime Minister for three weeks prior to Mubarak’s ouster in February 2011.