An Egyptian appeals court on Wednesday upheld a three-month suspended prison sentence for a prominent rights lawyer convicted of offending public morals
Khaled Ali’s lawyer said he will appeal the verdict by the Misdemeanor Court of Appeals in Giza. Ali has served no prison time for the conviction.
“We expected this verdict, and we’ll appeal it before a higher court,” said attorney Malek Adly.
Chief judge Emad el-Dramli said the sentence has been suspended for three years. Ali did not attend the trial, which came amid tight security.
Ali was tried and convicted in September last year on public obscenity charges for sticking up a middle finger outside a Cairo courthouse months earlier, a charge he denies. A court had ruled against the government’s agreement to cede control of two strategic Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia. President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi has since ratified the transfer of the islands.
At the time, Amnesty International called on Egyptian authorities to quash the conviction, calling the charges against Ali “absurd” and politically motivated.
Ali unsuccessfully ran for president in 2012, in Egypt’s first-ever democratic election that was won by Islamist Mohammed Morsi. Ali did not run in the 2014 elections, which el-Sissi, a general-turned-president, won a year after he led the military’s ouster of Morsi.
Ali quit the March presidential race against el-Sissi, who won a second four-year term in an election in which he faced no serious challengers.